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IN THE YEARS 1811 AND 1812 









THE present translation of Pan Tadeusz is based on the 
editions of Biegeleisen (Lemberg, 1893) and Kallenbach 
(Brody, 1911). I have had constantly by me the German 
translation by Lipiner (ed. a, Leipzig, 1898) and the 
French translation by Ostrowski (ed. 4, Paris, 1859), 
and am deeply indebted to them. The English trans- 
lation by Miss Maude Ashurst Biggs (Master Thaddeus ; 
or, The Last Foray in Lithuania : London, 1885) I did 
not have at hand until my own version was nearly 
complete ; after that I consulted it only very rarely* 
I do not think that I am under obligation to it in more 
than a half-dozen scattered lines of my text. (Perhaps, 
however, my use of foray as a translation of zajazd is due 
to an unconscious recollection of the title of Miss Biggs's 
volumes, which I looked over several years ago, before 
I had even formed the plan of my own work.) In my 
notes, however, my debt to Miss Biggs and her collabora- 
tors in her commentary on Pan Tadeusz is important ; 
I have striven to indicate it distinctly, and I thank Miss 
Biggs heartily for her kind permission to make use of 
her work. 

To my friend Miss Mary Helen Sznyter I am grateful 
for aid and advice in the rendering of several puzzling 
passages. But my greatest debt I owe to my wife, whose 
name, if justice were done, should be added to my 


own as joint translator of the volume. Though she is 
entirely unacquainted with the Polish language, nearly 
every page of the book in its phrasing bears traces of 
her correcting hand. The preparation of the volume 
for the press and the reading of the proof have been 
made easy by her skilful help. 

December g, 1916* 
















XL THE YEAR 1812 ....... 278 


NOTES 331 



" No European nation of our day has such an epic as 
Pan Tadeusz. In it Don Quixote has been fused with 
the Iliad. The poet stood on the border line between a 
vanishing generation and our own* Before they died, 
he had seen them ; but now they are no more* That 
is precisely the epic point of view, Mickiewics has 
performed his task with a master's hand ; he has made 
immortal a dead generation, which now will never pass 
away, . . . Pan Tadeusz is a true epic. No more can 
be said or need be said/' * 

This verdict upon the great masterpiece of all Slavic 
poetry, written a few years after its appearance, by 
Zygmunt Krasinski, one of Mickiewics's two great 
successors in the field of Polish letters, has been con- 
firmed by the judgment of posterity. For the chapter 
on Pan Tadeusz by George Brandes, than whom there 
have been few more competent judges of modern 
European literature, is little more than an expansion of 
Krasinski's pithy sentences. The cosmopolitan critic 
echoes the patriotic Pole when he writes : " In Pan 
Tadeusz Poland possesses the only successful epic our 
century has produced/' 2 

Still more important than the praises of the finest 
literary critics is the enthusiastic affection cherished for 

1 Quoted from a letter of Krasinski, by Kallenbach, Adam Mickiewicz 
(Cracow, 1897), vol. ii. p. 174. 

1 Poland, a Study of the Land, People, and Literature (London and 
New York, 1903), p. 284. 



Pan Tadeusz by the great body of the Polish people* 
Perhaps no poem of any other European nation is so 
truly national and in the best sense of the word popular* 
Almost every Pole who has read anything more than 
the newspaper is familiar with the contents of Pan 
Tadeusz. No play of Shakespeare* no long poem of 
Milton or Wordsworth or Tennyson* is so well known 
or so well beloved by the English people as is Pan 
Tadeusz by the Poles, To find a work equally well 
known one might turn to Defoe's prosaic tale of adven- 
ture, Robinson Crusoe ; to find a work so beloved would 
be hardly possible* 

Pan Tadeusz is so clear and straightforward in its 
appeal that but few words of explanation in regard to 
its origin are required* Its author* Adam Mickiewics, 
was born in 1798* near Nowogrodek in Lithuania* 
His father* a member of the poorer gentry of the dis- 
trict, was a lawyer by profession, so that the boy was 
brought up among just such types as he describes with 
so rare a humour in the Judge, the Assessor, the Notary, 
and the Apparitor* The young Mickiewicz was sent 
to the University of Wilno x (1815-19), where he re- 
ceived a good classical education, and, largely through 
his own independent reading, became well acquainted 
with French, German, and Russian even with English 
literature. On leaving the university he obtained a 
position as teacher in the gymnasium at Kowno (1819- 
23)* Though even as a boy he had written verses, his 
real literary career began with the publication in 1822 
of a volume of ballads, which was followed the next 
year by a second book of poems, containing fragments 
of a fantastic drama, The Forefathers, and a short 
j * Vilna on our maps ; Wilno is the Polish spelling. 


historical poem, Grazyna. These volumes reflect the 
romantic movement then prevalent in Europe, of which 
they are the first powerful expression in Poland* They 
were in large part inspired by the poet's love for a young 
woman of somewhat higher station than his own, who, 
though she returned his affection, was forced by her 
family to marry another suitor. 

In 1823 Mickiewicz was arrested as a political criminal, 
his offence being membership in a students' club at the 
University of Wilno that had cherished nationalistic 
aspirations. With several others, he was banished from 
his beloved Lithuanian home to the interior of Russia ; 
the following years, until 1829, he spent in St. Peters- 
burg, Odessa, and Moscow. During this honourable 
exile he became intimate with many of the most eminent 
men of letters in Russia, and continued his own literary 
work by publishing his sonnets, beyond comparison 
the finest ever written in Polish, and a romantic poem, 
Konrad Wallenrod, based on the stubborn resistance of 
the Lithuanian folk in the fourteenth century to their 
German foes, the Knights of the Cross, and showing in 
its style marked Byronic influence. The poem unfor- 
tunately admitted, or rather invited, an application to 
the resistance of the Poles to the Russians ; Mickie- 
wics, fearing with reason the anger of the Russian 
authorities, succeeded in obtaining, just in time to save 
himself from serious consequences, a passport permitting 
him to leave the country. 

Arriving in Germany in 1829, Mickiewicz travelled 
through Switzerland to Italy. His residence in Rome, 
with its sacred associations, and the meeting with new 
friends of a deeply religious temperament, brought 
about within him a new birth of Catholic faith that 


strongly affected his later writings, notably Pan Tadeusz. 
In Rome also he became intimate with the family of 
the rich Count Ankwicz, for whose daughter Eva he 
conceived an affection that is reflected in the passion 
of Jacek Soplica for the Pantler's only child. On the 
outbreak of the insurrection in Warsaw, at the end of 
the year 1830, the poet meditated returning home to 
join the national forces ; but he delayed his departure, 
and never came nearer the scene of action than Posen 
and its vicinity. The grief and discouragement caused 
by the failure of the insurrection, instead of crippling 
Mickiewicz's powers, seemed to spur him on to new 
activity. During 1832 he wrote a continuation of The 
Forefathers, in an entirely different tone from that of 
his youthful poem of ten years before. The action is 
based on the persecution by the Russian authorities 
of the Polish students in Wilno ; the lovelorn Gustaw 
of the earlier poem is transformed into the patriotic 
martyr Konrad, In this same year he settled in Paris, 
along with many other Polish exiles or " emigrants/' 
who were made homeless by the downfall of the national 
cause, and who, if the truth be said, were split up into 
bitterly hostile factions , Mickie wicz was now beginning 
to assume the role of prophet and seer. For the reproof 
and instruction of his fellow-countrymen he composed 
his Books of the Polish Nation and of the Polish Pil- 
grimage, a mystical work, written in biblical prose, 
and intended to bring comfort and harmony to the 
distracted exiles. In Paris also, in the course of about 
fourteen months (1832-34), he wrote Pan Tadeusz, 
his greatest poem and (with insignificant exceptions) 
his last. 

The story of Mickiewicz's closing years may be passed 


over very briefly* In 1834 he married ; his wife was 
subject to attacks of insanity, and all his later life was 
saddened by the struggle with misfortune and poverty. 
In 1840 he was called to a newly founded professorship 
of Slavic literature at the College de France* His 
lectures as holder of this chair are the only literary 
work of great importance that he produced during this 
last period of his life. Soon after the completion of 
Pan Tadeusz he had become absorbed by a religious 
mysticism that caused him to turn entirely aside from 
poetry. In 1841 he fell under the influence of Andrzej 
Towianski, a teacher who announced himself as the 
prophet of a new religion. His acceptance and promul- 
gation of a doctrine which was pronounced heretical 
by the Catholic Church, and which inculcated a re- 
ligious reverence for Napoleonic traditions, made it 
impossible for the French government to retain his 
services in a government institution, and in 1844 he 
was deprived of his professorship. The accession to 
power of Napoleon III. filled him with new hopes. In 
1855 he journeyed to Constantinople, wishing to aid 
in the war against Russia, and there he died of the 
cholera* His remains, first laid to rest in Paris, were 
transferred in 1890 to the cathedral at Cracow. 1 

Pan Tadeusz was not the result of a momentary 
inspiration, but grew gradually under the author's 
hand. On December 8, 1833, he wrote to a friend : " I 
am now at work on a poem of life among the gentry, 
in the style of Hermann and Dorothea. I have already 

1 English readers are fortunate in possessing an excellent account of 
the life and writings of Mickiewicz in the work by Miss Monica M. 
Gardner, Adam Mickiewicz, the National Poet of Poland (London and 
New York, 1911). 


jotted down a thousand verses/' He had evidently 
planned a village idyl of no great length, probably based 
on the love of Thaddeus and Zosia. In a draft of 
the first book that is still preserved, Thaddeus sees on 
the wall a picture of Joseph Poniatowski at the battle 
of Leipzig (October 19, 1813), " riding a mettled steed " 
but " stricken with a mortal wound/' Thus the action 
of the poem could not have taken place earlier than 
1814* Later, Mickiewicz threw back the time of his 
action to the autumn of 1811 and the spring of 1812 ; 
thus, by giving his poem a political background in the 
invasion of Russia by Napoleon, he transformed his 
village idyl into a national epic. The Monk Robak, 
or Jacek Soplica, and not his commonplace son Thad- 
deus, now became the real hero of the poem* 1 Nor 
was this hero wholly a product of the writer's inven- 
tion. There has recently been discovered a petition by 
Mikolaj Mickiewicz, the father of the poet, praying 
the authorities to grant him protection from one Jan 
Soplica, " a man of criminal sort," who had slain the 
uncle of the petitioner and was now threatening to kill 
the whole Mickiewicz family and burn their house. 
With the character of this person the description of 
Jacek Soplica *s early years agrees as closely as his name. 
Mickiewicz even mentions his own kindred as the an- 
cestral enemies of the Soplicas (page 45). Yet one of that 
hated family he now made the hero of his greatest poem. 
By introducing him in the guise of Father Robak, re- 
pentant and striving to atone for past misdeeds through 
heroic service to his country, he infused into his poem a 

1 1 am here indebted to Kallenbach (Adam Mickiewicz, Cracow, 
1897), and Pilat (Introduction to edition of Pan Tadeusz of Towarzystwo 
Literackie, Lemberg). 


romantic charm* The mystery surrounding this figure 
connects Pan Tadeusz, an epic that is truly classic in its 
dignified elevation and restraint of feeling, with Konrad 
Wallenrod, a romantic tale conceived in the spirit of 
Byronic passion* 

In the work of Mickiewicz as a whole two character- 
istics predominate : a great intensity of feeling, which 
sometimes sinks into sentimentality, and at others 
rises into lyric fervour ; and a wonderful truth, not only 
to the general impressions of his experience, but to the 
actual concrete facts of it, even to such trifles as the 
names of persons and places. Thus The Forefathers, 
despite all its fantastic elements, reproduces many 
incidents in which the poet himself was concerned. 
Furthermore, in certain works, as in his early tale 
Grazyna, Mickiewicz had shown a wonderful ability 
suddenly to detach himself from passing currents of 
emotion and to rise into regions of Olympian calm, 
giving to his work a classic, rounded completeness 
worthy of Grecian art. All these aspects of his genius 
are present in Pan Tadeusz. Echoes of the poet's 
personal emotion are heard in Jacek's tale of his passion 
for Eva ; and an ardent love of country permeates 
the poem and breaks out again and again with lyric 
force. On the other hand the book is faithful to reality 
in its picture of Lithuanian manners and customs ; 
the great romantic poet is at the same time the first 
realistic novelist of Poland. Minor details beyond 
number are introduced from the writer's personal 
recollections ; " even the Jew's playing of the dulcimer 
the poet had heard in St. Petersburg from the famous 
Silbermann." * Through the whole book runs a humour 
1 Bruckner, Geschichte der polnischen Litteratur (Leipzig, 1901), p. 371. 


not often found elsewhere in Mickiewicz ; the reports 
of the debates in Jankiel's tavern and in Dobrzyn 
hamlet are masterly in their blending of kindly pleasan- 
try with photographic fidelity to truth. The poet sees 
the ludicrous side of the Warden, the Chamberlain, the 
Seneschal, and the other Don Quixotes who fill his 
pages, and yet he loves them with the most tender 
affection* In his descriptions of external nature 
of the Lithuanian forests or of the scene around Sopli- 
cowo on the moonlight night just before the foray 
Mickiewicz shows a genius for throwing a glamour of 
poetic beauty over the face of common things such as 
has never been surpassed* Finally, the whole poem is 
perfect in its proportions ; from its homely beginning, 
with pictures of rural simplicity and old-fashioned 
hospitality, it swells into rustic grandeur in the panorama 
of the hunt, and at last reaches the most poignant 
tragedy in the scene about the death-bed of Jacek 
Soplica : then, lest the impression should be one of 
total sadness, the narrative concludes with the magnifi- 
cent epilogue of the last two books, full of hopes of 
rescue for Poland, full of gaiety and courage* A large 
epic calm pervades the whole* The age-long conflict 
between Pole and " Muscovite " is the theme of the 
epic, but the tone is not that of passionate hatred and 
revolt such as fills The Forefathers ; human kindliness 
breathes through the whole work ; not indignation 
and rebellion, but faith, hope, and love are at its 

This brief introduction may fitly close with some 
verses that Mickiewicz wrote as an epilogue for Pan 
Tadeusz, but which he never finally revised and which 
were never printed during his lifetime. Since his death 


they have most frequently been inserted as a prologue 
to the poem rather than as an epilogue* 

44 What can be my thoughts, here on the streets of 
Paris, when I bring home from the city ears filled with 
noise, with curses and lies, with untimely plans, belated 
regrets, and hellish quarrels t 

44 Alas for us deserters, that in time of pestilence, 
timid souls, we fled to foreign lands ! For wherever we 
trod, terror went before us, and in every neighbour we 
found an enemy ; at last they have bound us in chains, 
firmly and closely, and they bid us give up the ghost 
as quickly as may be. 

44 But if this world has no ear for their sorrows, if 
at each moment fresh tidings overwhelm them, rever- 
berating from Poland like a graveyard bell ; if their 
jailers wish them an early doom and their enemies 
beckon them from afar like grave-diggers ; if even in 
Heaven they see no hope then it is no marvel that they 
loathe men, the world, themselves ; that, losing their 
reason from their long tortures, they spit upon them- 
selves and consume one another. 

44 I longed to pass by in my flight, bird of feeble wing 
to pass by regions of storm and thunder, and to search 
out only pleasant shade and fair weather the days of 
my childhood, and my home gardens. 

44 One happiness remains : when in a grey hour you 
sit by the fireside with a few of your friends and lock 
the door against the uproar of Europe, and escape in 
thought to happier times, and muse and dream of your 
own land. 



" But of that blood that was shed so lately, of the tears 
which have flooded the face of all Poland, of the glory 
that not yet has ceased resounding : of these to think 
we had never the heart ! For the nation is in such 
anguish that even Valour, when he turns his gaze on 
its torture, can do naught but wring the hands* 

' Those generations black with mourning that air 
heavy with so many curses there thought dared not 
turn its flight to a sphere dreadful even to the birds of 

" O Mother Poland ! Thou wast so lately laid in the 
grave. No man has the strength to speak of thee ! 


" Ah ! whose lips can dare to fancy that to-day they 
will at last find the magic word that will soften marble- 
like despair, that will lift the stony lid from men's 
hearts, and will open eyes heavy with so many tears S* 

" Some time when the lions of vengeance shall 
cease to roar, when the blare of the trumpet shall be 
stilled, when the ranks shall be broken, when our 
eagles with a flight like lightning shall settle on the 
ancient boundaries of Boleslaw the Brave, and, eating 
their fill of corpses, shall be drenched with blood, and 
finally fold their wings to rest ; when the last enemy 
shall give forth a cry of pain, become silent, and pro- 
claim liberty to the world : then, crowned with oak 
leaves, throwing aside their swords, our knights will 
seat themselves unarmed and deign to hear songs. 
When the world envies their present fortune they will 


have leisure to hear of the past ! Then they will weep 
over the fate of their fathers, and then those tears will 
not soil their cheeks, 

44 To-day, for us, unbidden guests in the world, in 
all the past and in all the future to-day there is but 
one region in which there is a crumb of happiness for 
a Pole : the land of his childhood ! That land will 
ever remain holy and pure as first love ; undisturbed 
by the remembrance of errors, not undermined by the 
deceitfulness of hopes, and unchanged by the stream 
of events. 

" Gladly would I greet with my thoughts those lands 
where I rarely wept and never gnashed my teeth ; 
lands of my childhood, where one roamed over the world 
as through a meadow, and among the flowers knew only 
those that were lovely and fair, throwing aside the 
poisonous, and not glancing at the useful* 

4 That land, happy, poor, and narrow ; as the world 
is God's, so that was our own ! How everything there 
belonged to us, how I remember all that surrounded us, 
from the linden that with its magnificent crown afforded 
shade to the children of the whole village, down to every 
stream and stone ; how every cranny of the land was 
familiar to us, as far as the houses of our neighbours 
the boundary line of our realm ! 

44 And if at times a Muscovite made his appearance, he 
left behind him only the memory of a fair and glittering 
uniform, for we knew the serpent only by his skin. 

44 And only the dwellers in those lands have remained 
true to me until now ; some as faithful friends, some 
as trusty allies ! For who dwelt there t Mother, brothers, 


kindred, good neighbours ! When one of them passed 
away, how tenderly did they speak of him ! How many 
memories, what long-continued sorrow, in that land 
where a servant is more devoted to his master than in 
other countries a wife to her husband ; where a soldier 
sorrows longer over his weapons than here a son over 
his father ; where they weep longer and more sincerely 
over a dog than here the people weep for a hero ! 

44 And in those days my friends aided my speech and 
cast me word after word for my songs ; like the fabled 
cranes on the wild island, which flew in spring over the 
enchanted palace and heard the loud lament of an 
enchanted boy : each bird threw the boy a single 
feather ; he made him wings and returned to his own 

" O, if some time I might attain this joy that this 
book might find shelter beneath roofs of thatch, and 
that the village girls, as they spin and turn the wheel, 
humming the while their much-loved verses, of the 
girl who so loved to make music that while fiddling 
she lost her geese, or of the orphan, who, fair as the 
dawn, went to drive home the birds at eventide if 
even those village girls might take into their hands 
this book, simple as their songs ! 

" So in my own day, along with the village sports, 
they sometimes read aloud, under the linden tree on 
the green, the song of Justina, 1 or the story of Wieslaw ; 2 
and the bailiff, dosing at the table, or the steward, or 
even the master of the farm, did not forbid us to read ; 

1 By Franciszek Karpinski, 1741-1825. 

2 By Kazimierz Brodzinski, 1791-1835. 


he himself would deign to listen, and would interpret 
the harder places to the younger folk ; he praised the 
beauties and forgave the faults* 

" And the young folk envied the fame of the bards, 
which in their own land still echoes through the woods 
and the fields ; of bards to whom dearer than the laurel 
of the Capitol is a wreath plaited by the hands of a 
village girl, of blue cornflowers and green rue/' 


THE principal characters in Pan Tadeusz are as follows. 
The approximate pronunciation of each proper name is 
indicated in brackets, according to the system used in 
Webster* s New International Dictionary. 

Thaddeus (Tadeusz) Soplica [Ta-de'oosh SS- 


Jacek Soplica, his father [Ya'tsek]. 
Judge Soplica, brother of Jacek. 
Telimena, a distant relative of the Soplicas and of 

the Horeszkos [Te-H-me'na, H8-r&h'k8]. 
Zosia, ward of Telimena [ZS'sha]. 
Hrecsecha, the Seneschal [Hrg-che"ha]. 
The Chamberlain. 
Protasy Brzechalski, the Apparitor [PrS-ta'zi Bzhe'- 

The Assessor. 

Bolesta, the Notary [BS-les'ta]. 
The Count, a distant relative of the Horessko 

Gerwasy Rembajlo, the Warden, formerly a servant 

of the Horeszko family [Ggr-va'zl R2m- 


Rykov, a Russian captain [RI'k5f]. 
Jankiel, a Jew [Yan'kyel]. 
Maciej (Maciek) Dobrsynski [Ma'cha (Ma'chgk) 




Sprinkler (also called Baptist), Bucket, Buzzard, 
Razor, Awl, the Prussian : all members of 
the Dobrzynski clan. 

Henryk Dombrowski [HeVrlk DSm-brSfskq. 

Otton-Karol Kniaziewicz [6t't8n-Ka'r61 Knya- 

The following names are frequently mentioned in the 
poem : Kosciuszko [Ko-shcho6sh'k8], Rejtan [Ra'tan], 
Mickiewicz [Mits-kye"vlch]. Note also the words 
wojewoda [v6-yg-v6'da] and kontusz [k8n'tobsh]. 

Polish names in this book are generally given in their 
original spelling, except that the diacritical marks used on 
many letters in the Polish alphabet are here omitted, 
and that on (or om) and en (or em) are substituted for the 
nasal vowels indicated in Polish by a with a cedilla and e 
with a cedilla. But the English names Thaddeus, Sophia, 
Eva, Rosa, Thomas, and Joseph have been substituted 
for the Polish forms Tadeusz, Zofia, Ewa, Roza, Tomasz, 
and Jozef. (Yet the Polish title of the poem, Pan Tadeusz, 
has been left unchanged, as it has become widely known 
through works on Poland, and as a suitable substitute 
for it is hard to find : Pan Thaddeus would be a dis- 
pleasing hybrid.) The few Russian names that occur 
are given as though transliterated from the Russian, not 
in the Polish form : Suvorov, not Suwarow. 

The Polish Pan, Pani, and Panna correspond roughly 
to the English Mr., Mrs., and Miss. But Pani may be 
used of unmarried women of high social station ; it 
is regularly applied to Telimena, and once, by the 
reverent Gerwazy, even to little Zosia (page 320). 

As an aid to the pronunciation of the minor names 
the following directions may be of some service : 


Accent all names on the penult, or next to the last 

Pronounce cz as ch t sz as sh, rz as zh (asure), ; as y 
(aj, ej, oj as i, d t 01). W is ordinarily pronounced as v, 
but before surd consonants it has the sound /. Ch is 
pronounced as in German, but before vowels it need 
not be distinguished from the English h. The Polish / 
has two values, one of which resembles the English /, 
while the other (the crossed /) approximates to the 
English w. S is ordinarily pronounced as in English, 
but before i it has a sound somewhat like sh ; si before 
a vowel (as in Zosia) has the same sound, the i not being 
pronounced, but serving as an indication of the " soft n 
pronunciation of the preceding sibilant. In the same 
circumstances z (and zi) are pronounced somewhat 
like zh. The Polish alphabet also contains a dotted z 
(here represented by plain z) which is pronounced like 
zh. Dz before i (and dzi before a vowel) are pronounced 
somewhat like English / in jet. C is ordinarily pro- 
nounced like ts f but c before i (and ci before a vowel) 
are sounded somewhat like ch. 

The vowels may be given the familiar " Italian " 
values ; y need not be distinguished from i. (But on i 
as a diacritical sign, modifying a preceding sibilant, 
see the preceding paragraph,) Furthermore, i following 
a consonant (not a sibilant) and preceding a vowel, is 
pronounced like y t as in Jankiel (Yan'kyel). 

These rules, it must be said, are incomplete and 
inexact to a degree that will shock any person with a 
scientific knowledge of Polish pronunciation. In the 
present instance brevity seemed of more importance 
than strict accuracy. 






Return of the young master A first meeting in the chamber, a second 
at table The Judge's weighty lecture on courtesy The Chamber- 
lain's political remarks on fashions Beginning of the quarrel over 
Bobtail and Falcon Lamentations of the Seneschal The last 
Apparitor Glance at the political conditions of Lithuania and 
Europe at this period. 

LITHUANIA, my country, thou art like health ; how much 
thou shouldst be prized only he can learn who has 
lost thee. To-day thy beauty in all its splendour I see 
and describe, for I yearn for thee. 

Holy Virgin, who protectest bright Czenstochowa 
and shinest above the Ostra Gate in Wilno ! 2 Thou 
who dost shelter the castle of Nowogrodek with its 
faithful folk 1 As by miracle thou didst restore me to 
health in my childhood when, offered by my weeping 
mother to thy protection, I raised my dead eyelids, and 
could straightway walk to the threshold of thy shrine 
to thank God for the life returned me so by miracle 
thou wilt return us to the bosom of our country. Mean- 
while bear my grief-stricken soul to those wooded hills, 
to those green meadows stretched far and wide along 
the blue Niemen ; to those fields painted with various 


grain, gilded with wheat, silvered with rye ; where 
grows the amber mustard, the buckwheat white as 
snow, where the clover glows with a maiden's blush, 
where all is girdled as with a ribbon by a strip of green 
turf on which here and there rest quiet pear-trees. 

Amid such fields years ago, by the border of a brook, 
on a low hill, in a grove of birches, stood a gentleman's 3 
mansion, of wood, but with a stone foundation ; the 
white walls shone from afar, the whiter since they were 
relieved against the dark green of the poplars that 
sheltered it against the winds of autumn* The dwelling- 
house was not large, but it was spotlessly neat, and it 
had a mighty barn, and near it were three stacks of hay 
that could not be contained beneath the roof; one 
could see that the neighbourhood was rich and fertile. 
And one could see from the number of sheaves that up 
and down the meadows shone thick as stars one could 
see from the number of ploughs turning up early 
the immense tracts of black fallow land that evi- 
dently belonged to the mansion, and were tilled well 
like garden beds, that in that house dwelt plenty and 
order. The gate wide-open proclaimed to passers-by 
that it was hospitable, and invited all to enter as guests. 

A young gentleman had just entered in a two-horse 
carriage, and, after making a turn about the yard, he 
stopped before the porch and descended ; his horses, 
left to themselves, slowly moved towards the gate, 
nibbling the grass. The mansion was deserted, for the 
porch doors were barred and the bar fastened with a pin. 
The traveller did not run to make inquiries at the farm- 
house but opened the door and ran into the mansion, 
for he was eager to greet it. It was long since he had 
seen the house, for he had been studying in a distant 


city and had at last finished his course. He ran in and 
gazed with eager emotion upon the ancient walls, his 
old friends. He sees the same furniture, the same 
hangings with which he had loved to amuse himself 
from babyhood, but they seemed less beautiful and not 
so large as of old. And the same portraits hung upon 
the walls. Here Kosciuszko, 4 in his Cracow coat, 6 with 
his eyes raised to heaven, held his two-handed sword ; 
such was he when on the steps of the altar he swore 
that with this sword he would drive the three powers 
from Poland or himself would fall upon it. Farther on 
sat Rejtan, 6 in Polish costume, mourning the loss of 
liberty ; in his hands he held a knife with the point 
turned against his breast, and before him lay Phaedo 
and The Life of Cato. Still farther on Jasinski, 7 a fair 
and melancholy youth, and his faithful comrade Korsak 8 
stand side by side on the entrenchments of Praga, on 
heaps of Muscovites, hewing down the enemies of 
their country but around them Praga is already 

He recognised even the tall old musical clock in its 
wooden case near the chamber door, and with childish 
joy he pulled at the string, in order to hear Dom- 
browski's old mazurka. 71 

He ran about the whole house and searched for the 
room that had been his own when he was a child, ten 
years before. He entered, drew back, and surveyed the 
walls with astonished eyes : could this room be a 
woman's lodging t Who could live here t His old 
uncle was unmarried, and his aunt had dwelt for years 
in St. Petersburg. Could that be the housekeeper's 
chamber t A piano ? On it music and books ; all 
abandoned in careless confusion : sweet disorder ! 


Not old could the hands have been that had so aban- 
doned them 1 There too, a white gown, freshly taken 
from the hook to put on, was spread upon the arm of a 
chair. In the windows were pots of fragrant flowers : 
geraniums, asters, gillyflowers, and violets. The traveller 
stepped to one of the windows a new marvel was before 
him. On the bank of the brook, in a spot once over- 
grown with nettles, was a tiny garden intersected by 
paths, full of clumps of English grass and of mint. 
The slender wooden fence, fashioned into a monogram, 
shone with ribbons of gay daisies. Evidently the beds 
had but just been sprinkled ; there stood the tin 
watering-pot full of water, but the fair gardener could 
nowhere be seen. She had only now departed ; the 
little gate, freshly touched, was still trembling ; near 
the gate could be seen on the sand the print of a small 
foot that had been without shoe or stocking on the 
fine dry sand, white as snow ; the print was clear but 
light ; you guessed that it was left in quick running 
by the tiny feet of some one who scarce touched the 

The traveller stood long in the window gazing and 
musing, breathing in the fragrance of the flowers. He 
bent down his face to the violet plants ; he followed the 
paths with his curious eyes and again gazed on the tiny 
footprints ; he kept thinking of them and trying to guess 
whose they were. By chance he raised his eyes, and 
there on the wall stood a young girl her white garment 
hid her slender form only to the breast, leaving bare 
her shoulders and her swan's neck. Such attire a 
Lithuanian maiden is wont to wear only early in the 
day ; in such she is never seen by men. So, though 
there was no witness near, she had folded her arms on 


her breast, in order to add a veil to her low garment* 
Her hair, not spread out in loose ringlets but twisted 
in little knots and wrapped in small white curl-papers, 
marvellously adorned her head, for in the sunlight it 
shone like a crown on the image of a saint* Her face 
could not be seen, for she had turned towards the 
meadow, and with her eyes was seeking some one far 
off, below her* She caught sight of him, laughed, and 
dapped her hands ; like a white bird she flew from the 
wall to the turf, and flashed through the garden, over 
stiles and flowers, and over a board supported on the 
wall of the chamber ; before the young man was aware, 
she had flown in through the window, glittering, swift, 
and light as a moonbeam. Humming to herself, she 
seized the gown and ran to the mirror ; suddenly she 
saw the youth, and the gown fell from her hands and 
her face grew pale with fright and wonder. The face 
of the traveller flamed with a rosy blush, as a cloud 
when it is touched with the morning glow ; the modest 
youth half closed his eyes and hid them with his hand ; 
he wished to speak and ask for pardon, but only bowed 
and stepped back. The maiden uttered a pitiful, indis- 
tinct cry, like a child frightened in its sleep ; the traveller 
looked up in alarm, but she was there no longer ; he 
departed in confusion and felt the loud beating of his 
heart ; he knew not whether this strange meeting should 
cause him amusement or shame or joy. 

Meanwhile in the farmhouse they had not failed to 
notice that some new guest had driven up before the 
porch. They had already taken the horses to the stable and 
already, as befits an honourable house, had given them 
generously of oats and hay, for the Judge 9 was never 
willing to adopt the new fashion of sending a guest's 


horse to a Jew's inn. The servants had not come out 
to welcome the traveller, but do not think that in the 
Judge's mansion service was careless ; the servants 
were waiting until the Seneschal 10 should attire him, 
who now behind the mansion was arranging for the 
supper. He took the place of the master, and in his 
absence was wont himself to welcome and entertain 
guests, being a distant relative of the master and a 
friend of the house. Seeing the guest, he stealthily 
made his way to the farmhouse, for he could not come 
out to greet the stranger in a homespun dressing-gown ; 
there he put on as quickly as he might his Sunday 
garment, made ready since early morning, for since 
morning he had known that at supper he should sit 
with a multitude of guests. 

The Seneschal recognised the traveller from afar, 
spread out his arms, and with a cry embraced and kissed 
him. Then began a hurried, confused discourse, in 
which they were eager to tell the events of many years 
in a few brief words, mingled, as the tale went forward, 
with queries, exclamations, and new greetings. When 
the Seneschal had asked his fill of questions, at the very 
last he told the story of that day. 

44 It is good, my Thaddeus," for so they called the 
young man, whose first name had been given him in 
honour of Kosciuszko, as a token that he was born at 
the time of the war u " it is good, my Thaddeus, that 
you have returned home this day, just when we have 
with us so many fair young ladies. Your uncle is 
thinking of soon celebrating your marriage. You have 
a wide choice : at our house a numerous company has 
for days been gathering for the session of the territorial 
court, to conclude our ancient quarrel with the Count. 


The Count himself is to arrive to-morrow ; the Cham- 
berlain 12 is already here with his wife and daughters. 
The young men have gone to the wood to amuse them- 
selves shooting, and the old men and the women are 
looking at the harvest near the wood, where they are 
doubtless awaiting the young men. Come on, if you 
wish, and soon we shall meet your dear uncle, the 
Chamberlain, and the honoured ladies." 

The Seneschal and Thaddeus walked along the road 
towards the wood and could not say enough to each 
other. The sun was approaching the end of his course 
in the sky and shone less strongly but more broadly 
than by day, all reddened, as the healthy face of a 
husbandman, when, after finishing his work in the fields, 
he returns to rest : already the gleaming circle was des- 
cending on the summit of the grove, and already the 
misty twilight, filling the tips and the branches of the 
trees, bound and, as it were, fused the whole forest into 
one mass, and the grove showed black like an immense 
building, and the sun red above it like a fire on the roof ; 
then the sun sank ; it still shone through the branches, 
as a candle through the chinks of window shutters ; 
then it was extinguished. And suddenly the scythes 
that were ringing far and wide among the grain, and 
the rakes that were being drawn over the meadow, 
became quiet and still ; such were the orders of the 
Judge, on whose farm work closed with the day. " The 
Lord of the world knows how long we should toil; 
when the sun, his workman, descends from heaven, it 
is time for the husbandman to withdraw from the field/' 
So the Judge was wont to speak, and the will of the 
Judge was sacred to the honest Steward ; for even the 
waggons on which they had already begun to load the 


sheaves of grain, went unfilled to the stable ; the oxen 
rejoiced in the unaccustomed lightness of their load. 

The whole company was just returning from the grove, 
gaily, but in order ; first the little children with their 
tutor, then the Judge with the wife of the Chamber- 
bin ; beside them the Chamberlain, surrounded by 
his family ; after the older people came the young 
ladies, with the young men beside them ; the young 
ladies walked a half-step before the young men : so 
decorum bids. No one there had arranged the order, 
no one had so placed the gentlemen and the ladies, 
but each without conscious thought kept the order : 
for the Judge in his household observed the ancient 
customs, and never allowed that respect should be 
neglected for age, birth, intelligence, or office : " By such 
breeding,' ' said he, " houses and nations win fame, and 
with its fall, houses and nations go to ruin." So the 
household and the servants grew accustomed to order ; 
and a passing guest, whether kinsman or stranger, when 
he visited the Judge, as soon as he had been there a 
short time, accepted the established ways of which 
all about him breathed. 

Short were the greetings that the Judge bestowed 
upon his nephew. With dignity he offered him his 
hand to salute, and kissing him on the temple he gave 
him a hearty welcome ; though out of regard for the 
guests he talked little with him, one could see from the 
tears that he quickly wiped away with the sleeve of his 
kontusz, 13 how he loved young Thaddeus. 

After the master all, both men and beasts, were 
returning home together from the harvest fields and 
from the grove, from the meadows and from the pas- 
tures. Here a flock of bleating sheep squeezed into the 


lane and raised a cloud of dust ; behind them slowly 
stepped a herd of Tyrolese heifers with brazen bells ; 
there the horses neighing rushed home from the freshly 
mown meadow. All ran to the well, of which the wooden 
sweep ceaselessly creaked and filled the trough. 

The Judge, though wearied, and though surrounded 
by guests, did not neglect the weighty duties of his farm, 
but himself went to the well : at evening a farmer can 
best see how his stable prospers, and never entrusts that 
care to servants for the Judge knew that the master's 
eye fattens the horse. 

The Seneschal *and Protazy the Apparitor 14 were 
standing in the hall, lanterns in hand, and were arguing 
with some warmth, for in the Seneschal's absence the 
Apparitor had secretly ordered the supper tables to be 
carried out from the mansion and to be set up hastily 
in the old castle of which the remains could be seen near 
the wood. Why this transfers' The Seneschal made 
wry faces and begged the Judge's pardon ; the Judge 
was amazed, but the thing had been done ; it was 
already late and difficult to correct it ; he preferred 
to make excuses to his guests and to lead them to the 
ruins. On the way the Apparitor kept explaining to 
the Judge why he had altered his master's arrange- 
ments : on the farm no room was spacious enough for 
so many guests and guests of such high station ; in 
the castle the great hall was still well preserved, the 
vaulted roof was whole to be sure one wall was 
cracked and the windows were without panes, but in 
summer that would do no harm ; the nearness of the 
cellars was convenient for the servants. So speaking, he 
winked at the Judge ; it was evident from his mien that he 
had other, more important reasons, but concealed them. 


The castle stood two thousand paces from the man- 
sion, of stately architecture, and of imposing bulk, the 
ancestral home of the ancient house of the Horeszkos. 
The owner had perished at the time of the disorders in 
the country ; 16 the domain had been entirely ruined 
by the sequestrations of the government, by the care- 
lessness of the guardians, and by the verdicts of the 
courts ; part had fallen to distant relatives on the female 
side, the rest had been divided among the creditors* 
No one wished to take the castle, for a simple gentleman 
could hardly afford the cost of maintaining it ; but the 
Count, a rich young noble and a distant relative of the 
Horeszkos, when he became of age and returned home 
from his travels to live near by, took a fancy to the walls, 
explaining that they were of Gothic architecture, though 
the Judge from documents tried to convince him that 
the architect was from Wilno and not a Goth. At all 
events the Count wished to have the castle, and suddenly 
the same desire seized the Judge, no one could tell why. 
They began a suit in the district court, then in the court 
of appeal, before the Senate, again in the district court 
and before the governor's council ; finally after great 
expense of money, and numerous decrees, the case 
returned again to the court of domains. 

The Apparitor said rightly that in the hall of the 
castle there was room both for the gentlemen of the 
bar and for the invited guests. This hall was as large 
as a refectory, and it had a vaulted roof supported on 
pillars, and a stone flooring ; the walls were unadorned, 
but clean. Upon them were fastened the horns of stags 
and roes, with inscriptions telling where and when these 
trophies had been obtained ; there too were engraved 
the armorial bearings of the hunters, with the name of 


each written out in full ; on the ceiling gleamed the 
Half-Goat, the arms of the Horeszkos, 

The guests entered in order and stood about the table* 
The Chamberlain took his place at the head ; this 
honour befitted him from his age and his office ; ad- 
vancing to it he bowed to the ladies, the old men, and 
the young men. By him took his station a Bernardine 
monk, a collector of alms for his order, and next the 
Bernardine was the Judge. The Bernardine pronounced 
a short grace in Latin, brandy was passed to the gentle- 
men ; then all sat down, and silently and with relish 
they ate the cold Lithuanian salad of beet leaves. 1 * 

Thaddeus, though a young man, by virtue of being a 
guest, had a seat at the head of the table, with the ladies, 
beside His Honour the Chamberlain ; between him and 
his uncle there remained one empty place, which seemed 
to be awaiting some one* The uncle often glanced at this 
place and then at the door, as though he were assured 
of some one's coming and desired it ; and Thaddeus 
followed his uncle's glance to the door, and with him 
fixed his eyes on the empty seat* Marvellous to relate, 
the places round about were occupied by maidens on 
whom a prince might have gazed without shame, all 
of them high born, and every one young and pretty ; 
but Thaddeus kept looking at that spot where no one 
was sitting. That place was a riddle ; young people 
love riddles* Distraught, to his fair neighbour the 
Chamberlain's daughter he said only a few scattering 
words ; he did not change her plate or fill her glass, 
and he did not entertain the young ladies with polite 
discourse such as would have shown his city breeding. 
That one empty place allured him and da^led him ; 
it was no longer empty, for he had filled it with his 


thoughts* Over that place ran a thousand guesses, as 
after a rain, little toads hop hither and thither over a 
lonely meadow ; among them one form was queen, like 
a water lily on a fair day raising its white brow above 
the surface of a lake. 

The third course was being served. The Chamber- 
lain, pouring a drop of wine into Panna Rosa's glass 
and passing a plate of cucumbers to his younger 
daughter, said : " I must wait on you myself, my dear 
daughters, though I am old and clumsy/' Thereat 
several young men started up from the table and served 
the young ladies. The Judge, throwing a sidelong glance 
at Thaddeus and adjusting somewhat the sleeves of his 
kontusz, poured out some Hungarian wine and spoke 

44 To-day, as the new fashion bids us, we send our 
young men to the capital to study, and I do not deny 
that our sons and grandsons have more book learning 
than their elders ; but each day I perceive how our 
young men suffer because there are no schools that 
teach how to conduct oneself in polite society. Of old, 
the young gentry went to the courts of the lords ; I 
myself was for ten years a member of the household of 
the Wojewoda, 26 the father of His Honour the Chamber- 
bin." (As he said this he pressed the Chamberlain's 
knees.) 4 * By his counsels he fitted me for the public 
service, and did not dismiss me from his care until he 
had made a man of me. In my home his memory will 
ever be dear; each day do I pray God for his soul. 
If at his court I profited less than others, and since my 
return have been ploughing the fields at home, while 
others, more worthy of the regard of the Wojewoda, have 
since attained the highest offices in the land, at least this 


much I profited, that in my home no one will ever re- 
proach me for failing to show respect or courtesy to 
all and boldly do I say it, courtesy is not an easy 
science, nor one of slight account. Not easy, for it is not 
confined to moving one's legs gracefully in bowing or to 
greeting with a smile each man one meets ; for such 
fashionable courtesy seems to me that of a merchant, 
not that of old Poland, nor that of a true gentleman. 
Courtesy should be extended to all, but for each it is 
different ; for not without courtesy is the love of children 
for their parents, or the regard paid by a husband to his 
wife in society, or that of a master for his servants, and 
yet each sort of courtesy has its distinctive mark. One 
must study long in order without mistake to pay to 
each his due respect. And our elders did study : in 
noble mansions the discourse furnished the listener 
a living history of his land, and the talk among the 
gentry formed the household annals of the county. 
Thereby a brother gentleman was made to feel that all 
knew of him and did not esteem him lightly ; so a 
gentleman kept a watch upon his own habits. But 
to-day you must ask no man who he is or of what 
parents, with whom he has lived or what he has done. 
Every man enters where he will, so long as he be not 
a government spy or a beggar. As Vespasian did not 
smell of money, 17 and cared not to know whence it 
came, from what hands or lands, so now they care not 
to know a man's family or habits. It suffices that he be 
of full weight and that the stamp be seen upon him ; 
thus men value friends as Jews value money." 

While speaking thus, the Judge surveyed his guests 
in order ; for though he always spoke fluently and with 
discretion, he knew that the youth of to-day are impatient, 


that they are bored by long speeches, even by the most 
eloquent* But all were listening in deep silence ; the 
Judge with his eye seemed to take counsel of the Cham- 
berlain ; the Chamberlain did not interrupt the speech 
by praise, but with a frequent nodding of his head he 
assented to it. The Judge ceased speaking, the other 
with a nod begged him to continue. So the Judge filled 
the Chamberlain's beaker and his own cup, and spoke 
further : 

" Courtesy is no slight thing : when a man learns 
to respect as is fitting the age, birth, virtues, and ways 
of others, at the same time he comes to recognise also 
his own dignity ; as in weighing with scales, in order 
to learn our own weight, we must put some one in the 
opposite pan. And worthy of your especial attention 
is the courtesy that young men owe to the fair sex, 
above all when the distinction of family, and the 
generosity of fortune heighten inborn charms and 
talents. Through courtesy is the path to the affections, 
and by it houses are joined in splendid union thus 
thought our elders. And therefore " 

Here the Judge with a sudden turn of his head nodded 
at Thaddeus and bestowed on him a stern glance ; 
it was evident that he had now reached the climax of 
his speech. 

Thereupon the Chamberlain tapped his golden snuff- 
box and said : 

44 My dear Judge, in former times it was still worse. 
At present I know not whether the fashion changes 
even us old men, or whether the young men are better 
than before, but I see less cause of scandal. Ah, I 
remember the times when on our fatherland there first 
descended the fashion of imitating the French ; when 


suddenly brisk young gentlemen from foreign lands 
swarmed in upon us in a horde worse than the Nogai 
Tatars, abusing here, in our country, God, the faith of 
our fathers, our lav/ and customs, and even our ancient 
garments. Pitiable was it to behold the yellow-faced 
puppies, talking through their noses and often with- 
out noses stuffed with brochures and newspapers 
of various sorts, and proclaiming new faiths, laws, and 
toilets. That rabble had a mighty power over minds, 
for when the Lord God sends punishment on a nation 
he first deprives its citizens of reason. And so the wiser 
heads dared not resist the fops, and the whole nation 
feared them as some pestilence, for within itself it 
already felt the germs of disease. They cried out 
against the dandies but took pattern by them ; they 
changed faith, speech, laws, and costumes* That was 
a masquerade, the licence of the Carnival season, after 
which was soon to follow the Lent of slavery* 

" I remember, though then I was but a little child, 
when the Cup-Bearer's son came to visit my father in 
the district of Oszmiana, in a French carriage ; he was 
the first man in Lithuania who wore French clothes. 
Everybody ran after him as after a buzsard ; ** they 
envied the house before the threshold of which the 
Cup-Bearer's son halted his two-wheeled chaise, which 
passed by the French name of cabriolet. Within it sat 
two dogs instead of footmen, and on the box a German, 
lean as a board ; his long legs, thin as hop-poles, were 
clad in stockings, and shoes with silver buckles ; the 
tail of his wig was tied up in a sack. The old men burst 
out laughing at that equipage, but the country boors 
crossed themselves, saying that a Venetian devil was 
travelling abroad in a German carriage. To describe the 


son of the Cup-Bearer himself would be a long story ; 
suffice it to say that he seemed to us an ape or a parrot 
in a great peruke, which he liked to compare to the 
Golden Fleece, and we to elf-locks. 19 At that time even 
if any one felt that the Polish costume was more comely 
than this aping of a foreign fashion, he kept silent, for 
the young men would have cried out that he was 
hindering culture, that he was checking progress, that 
he was a traitor. Such at that time was the power 
of prejudice ! 

44 The Cup-Bearer's son announced that he was going 
to reform us and introduce order and civilisation ; he 
proclaimed to us that some eloquent Frenchmen had 
made a discovery, that all men are equal though this 
was written long ago in Holy Writ and every parish 
priest prates of it from the pulpit. The doctrine was 
ancient, the question was of its application. But at 
that time such general blindness prevailed that they 
did not believe the oldest things in the world if they 
did not read of them in a French newspaper. The 
Cup-Bearer's son, despite equality, had taken the title 
of marquis. It is well known that titles come from 
Paris, and at that time the title of marquis was in fashion 
there ; however, when in the course of years the fashion 
changed, this same marquis took the title of democrat ; 
finally, with the changing fashion, under Napoleon, the 
democrat arrived from Paris as a baron ; if he had 
lived longer, perhaps he would have shifted again, and 
instead of a baron would have called himself once more 
a democrat. For Paris boasts of frequent changes of 
fashion, and whatever a Frenchman invents is dear 
to a Pole. 

" Thank God, that now if our young men go abroad, 


it is no longer for clothes, nor to seek new laws in 
wretched printing shops, nor to study eloquence in the 
cafes of Paris. For now Napoleon, a clever man and 
a swift, gives us no time to prate or to search for new 
fashions. Now there is the thunder of arms, and the 
hearts of us old men exult that the renown of the 
Poles is spreading so widely throughout the world ; 
glory is ours already, and so we shall soon again have 
our Republic. From laurels always springs the tree 
of liberty. Only it is sad that for us the years drag 
on so long in idleness, and they are always so far away. 
It is so long to waif, and even news is so scarce. Father 
Robak," * he said in a lower voice to the Bernardine, 
" I have heard that you have received tidings from 
beyond the Niemen ; perhaps you know something 
of our army i* " 

" Not a thing," answered Robak with indifference ; 
it was evident that he had not enjoyed listening to the 
talk. " Politics bore me ; if I have a letter from Warsaw, 
it is on business of our Order. That is the affair of us 
Bernardines ; why should we talk of that at supper t 
Here there are laymen, whom such things do not 

So speaking, he looked askance at a Muscovite guest 
who was sitting among the banqueters ; this was 
Captain Rykov, an old soldier who was quartered in 
a village hard by, and whom the Judge for courtesy's 
sake had invited to the supper. Rykov ate with a relish, 
and had been mixing little in the conversation, but 
at the mention of Warsaw he raised his head and 
said, with a Russian accent, and with a few slips of 
expression : 

44 Chamberlain ! Ah, sir, you are always curious about 



Bonaparte, and are always eager to hear from Warsaw, 
Ah, Fatherland ! I am no spy, but I understand Polish* 
Fatherland ! I feel it all, I understand ! You are Poles, 
I am Russian ; just now we are not fighting there is 
an armistice, so we are eating and drinking together. 
Often at the outposts our fellows will be chatting with 
the French and drinking brandy ; when they cry 
' Hurrah,* then comes the cannonading. There's a 
Russian proverb : ' I love the man I fight with ; clasp 
your sweetheart to your heart, but beat her like a fur 
cloak/ I say we shall have war. An adjutant of the staff 
came to Major Plut 21 the day before yesterday : ' Get 
ready for the march ! ' We shall move either against the 
Turks or the French, O, that Bonaparte is a rare bird ! 
Now that Suvorov is gone maybe he will give us a 
drubbing. In our regiment we used to say, when we 
were marching against the French, that Bonaparte was a 
wizard 22 well, so was Suvorov a wizard too, so there 
were tricks against tricks. Once in battle, where did he 
disappear t To look for Bonaparte ! But he changed 
himself into a fox, so Suvorov became a hound ; so 
Bonaparte changed again into a cat ; they started to claw 
each other, but Suvorov became a pony. Now notice 
what happened with Bonaparte finally " 

Here Rykov broke off and began to eat. At that 
moment the servant came in with the fourth course, and 
suddenly the side doors were opened. 

A new guest, young and fair, came in ; her sudden 
appearance, her beauty and her carriage, her toilet, all 
attracted the eye. Everybody greeted her ; evidently 
all except Thaddeus were acquainted with her. Her 
figure was fine and elegant, her bosom charming ; her 
gown was of pink silk, low cut, and with short sleeves, 


the collar of lace* In her hands she twirled a fan for 
mere pastime, for it was not hot ; the gilded fan as it 
waved spread around it a dense shower of sparks* Her 
head was like a milliner's model ; the hair was frizzled 
and curled and intertwined with pink ribbons ; amid 
them a diamond, half hidden from sight, shone like a 
star in the tail of a comet. In a word it was a holiday 
toilet ; several whispered that it was too elaborate for the 
country and for every day. Though her skirt was short, 
the eye could not see her feet, for she ran very swiftly, 
or rather she glided, like the puppets that on the Festival 
of the Three Kings' boys hidden in booths slide to and 
fro. She ran in and, greeting all with a slight bow, was 
about to seat herself in the place reserved for her. That 
was difficult, for there were no chairs for the guests, 
who were sitting in four rows on four benches ; either a 
whole row must move or she must climb over the bench. 
Skilfully she managed to squeeze in between two 
benches, and then between the table and the line of those 
seated at it she rolled on like a billiard ball. In her 
course she brushed past our young man, and, catching a 
flounce on some one's knee, slipped a little, and in her 
distraction supported herself on the shoulder of Thad- 
deus. Politely begging his pardon, she took her seat 
between him and his uncle, but she ate nothing ; she 
only fanned herself, or twirled the handle of her fan, or 
adjusted her lace collar, or with a light touch of her hand 
smoothed her ringlets and the knots of bright ribbon 
among them. 

This interruption of the conversation had lasted some 
four minutes. Meanwhile there had begun at the end of 
the table first gentle murmurs and then conversation in 
a subdued voice ; the men were discussing their day's 


hunting. Between the Assessor M and the Notary ** 
there had arisen a stubborn and more and more noisy 
dispute over a bobtailed hound, in the ownership of 
which the Notary took pride, maintaining that this dog 
had caught the hare ; while the Assessor was demon- 
strating, despite the arguments of the Notary, that that 
honour belonged to his own hound Falcon. They asked 
the opinion of the others ; so all in turn took sides either 
for Bobtail or for Falcon, some as experts, others as eye- 
witnesses. At the opposite end of the table the Judge 
was saying in a low voice to his new neighbour : " I 
beg your pardon, we had to sit down, it was impossible 
to put off supper till later ; the guests were hungry, for 
they had had a long walk over the fields ; and I thought 
that to-day you would not join us at table/' After these 
words he talked quietly with the Chamberlain over a 
full winecup about political aifairs. 

Since both ends -of the table were thus occupied, 
Thaddeus gazed intently at the unknown lady. He 
remembered that when he had first glanced at the place 
he had at once guessed for whom it was destined. He 
blushed, and his heart beat faster than its wont. So he 
now beheld the solution of the mystery upon which he 
had pondered. So it had been ordained that by his side 
should sit that beauty whom he had seen in the twilight ; 
to be sure she now seemed of taller stature, for she was 
in full dress, and costume may make one seem larger or 
smaller. But the hair of the first had seemed short and 
of a bright golden colour, while this lady had long, 
curling, raven tresses. The colour must have come 
from the sun's rays, which at evenfall shed a glow over 
everything. At that time he had not noticed the girl's 
face she had vanished too quickly. But thought is 


wont to guess a lovely face ; he had imagined that 
surely she must have black eyes, a fair complexion, and 
lips as red as twin cherries ; in his neighbour he found 
such a face, such eyes, and such lips. In age perhaps 
there was the greatest difference ; the little gardener 
had seemed to him a young girl, this lady was already of 
ripe years. But youth never asks beauty for its baptismal 
certificate ; to a young man every woman is young, to 
a lad every beauty seems of his own age, and to an 
innocent boy every sweetheart seems a maiden. 

Thaddeus, though he was now almost twenty years 
of age, and from childhood had dwelt in Wilno, a large 
city, had been under the charge of a priest, who looked 
after him and brought him up in the rules of strict old- 
fashioned virtue. Therefore Thaddeus brought home 
to his native heath a pure soul, a lively imagination, and 
an innocent heart, but at the- ; same time no small desire 
to sow his wild oats. He had some time ago resolved 
that he would permit himself to -enjoy in the country his 
long forbidden liberty ; he knew that he was handsome, 
he felt himself young and vigorous ; and as an inheri- 
tance from his parents he had received health and good 
spirits. His name was Soplica ; all the Soplicas, as is 
well known, are large, strong, powerful men, apt at 
the soldier's trade, but less diligent over their books. 

Thaddeus had not degenerated from his forebears; 
he rode well on horseback and walked well ; he was 
not dull, but he had made little progress in his studies, 
though his uncle had spared nothing on his education. 
He liked better to shoot, or to practise with a sabre ; 
he knew that they had intended to fit him for the army, 
that his father in his will had expressed this desire ; 
while sitting in school he yearned constantly for the 


sound of the drum* But his uncle had suddenly changed 
his first intentions, and had sent him word to come 
home and to marry and take over the farming ; he had 
promised to give him at first a little village, and later 
the whole estate* 

All these virtues and good qualities of Thaddeus 
had attracted the gaze of his neighbour, an observant 
woman. She had measured his tall and shapely form, 
his strong shoulders, his broad chest, and she looked 
into his face, on which a blush rose as often as the young 
man met her eyes. For he had already entirely recovered 
from his first timidity, and looked on her with a bold 
glance, in which fire blazed ; even so did she gaze on 
him, and their four pupils glowed opposite one another 
as do candles at the Advent mass. 

She started a conversation with him in French. 
Thaddeus had returned from town, from school : so 
she asked his opinions about new books and authors, 
and from his answers derived new questions ; she 
went so far as to speak of painting, of music, of dancing 
even of sculpture ! She proved herself equally familiar 
with the pencil, with tunes, and with books, until 
Thaddeus was petrified by so much learning, and feared 
that he might become the butt of ridicule, and stam- 
mered like a little lad before his teacher. Luckily the 
teacher was beautiful and lenient ; his neighbour guessed 
the cause of his perturbation, and shifted the talk to 
less deep and difficult subjects, to the cares and troubles 
of existence in the country, and how one must amuse 
oneself, and how divide the time in order to make 
village life gay and pleasant. Thaddeus answered more 
boldly, and things went better ; in a half-hour they were 
already fast friends, they even started jests and small 


quarrels. Finally she placed before him three little 
balls of bread, three persons to select from ; he chose 
the nearest. The two daughters of the Chamberlain 
frowned at this ; his neighbour laughed, but she did 
not tell him whom that happy ball was meant to signify. 

At the other end of the table they were amusing 
themselves quite differently, for there the adherents of 
Falcon, suddenly gathering strength, descended piti- 
lessly on the party of Bobtail. Mighty was the strife ; 
they had not yet eaten the last courses ; standing up 
and drinking, the two factions wrangled. But most 
terribly was the Notary ruffled just like a blackcock ; 
when he had once begun, he poured forth his speech 
without a pause, and adorned it most effectively by his 
gestures. (The Notary, Pan Bolesta, had once been a 
lawyer ; they called him the preacher, because he was 
over fond of gestures.) Now he had placed his hands 
on his sides, extending his elbows backward, and from 
under his armpits he was thrusting forward his fingers 
and long nails, thereby representing two leashes of 
hounds. He was just concluding his speech : 

44 Hurrah ! The Assessor and I let them go at once, 
at the very same time, as if the two triggers on a double- 
barrelled gun had been pressed by one finger. Hurrah ! 
They started, and the hare like an arrow shot into the 

field ; the dogs after him " (Here as he spoke he 

ran his hands over the table and with his fingers mar- 
vellously imitated the movement of the dogs) " the 
dogs after him, and they headed him off a bit from the 
wood. Falcon rushed forward, a fleet dog, but with a 
poor head ; he got the start of Bobtail by so much, a 
finger's breadth ; I knew that he would miss. The hare 
was no common rogue ; he made as if straight for the 


field, and after him the pack of hounds. The rogue of 
a hare ! Once he knew that the dogs were in a bunch, 
pst ! he went to the right, with a somersault, and after 
him the stupid hounds ; but again, zip I to the left, 
in just two jumps. The dogs after him, zip ! to the left, 
and my Bobtail, whack 1 " 

Shouting thus the Notary leaned over the table and 
ran his fingers clear to the other side, and screamed 
" whack " just over the ear of Thaddeus. Thaddeus 
and his neighbour, suddenly startled right in the middle 
of a conversation by this outburst, involuntarily with- 
drew their heads from each other, like treetops tied 
together, when the storm parts them ; their hands, which 
had been lying close together under the table, quickly 
drew apart, and their two faces were clothed with a 
single blush. 

" It is true, my dear Notary," said Thaddeus, in order 
not to betray his embarrassment, " it is true, without 
doubt ; Bobtail is a finely built hound if he is equally 
good at seizing the game/' 

44 Good at seizing ! " cried the Notary, " my favourite 
dog ; the idea of his not being good at seizing ! " 

So Thaddeus once more expressed his pleasure that 
so handsome a dog had no fault ; regretted that he had 
seen him only as he was returning from the wood, and 
that he had not had time to appreciate all his good 

At this the Assessor trembled, dropped his wine- 
glass from his hand, and levelled at Thaddeus the glance 
of a basilisk. The Assessor was less noisy and less given 
to gestures than the Notary, thinner and shorter ; but 
he was terrible at masquerade, ball, or village diet, for 
they said of him that he had a sting in his tongue. He 


could make up such witty jests that you might have had 
them printed in the almanac ; they were all so malicious 
and pointed* He had formerly been a man of property, 
but he had entirely squandered his inheritance from his 
father, and his brother's estate as well, through cutting 
a figure in high society ; now he had entered the service 
of the government, in order to be of some importance 
in the district* He was very fond of hunting, both for 
the sport of it and because the peal of the horn and the 
sight of the circle of beaters recalled to him the days 
of his youth, when he had kept many hunters and many 
famous hounds. Of his whole kennel but two dogs re- 
mained, and now they wanted to belittle the glory of 
one of these ! So he approached, and, slowly stroking 
his side whiskers, said with a laugh but it was a laugh 
full of poison : 

" A hound without a tail is like a gentleman without 
an office. A tail is likewise a great help to a hound in 
running. And do you, sir, regard the lack of one as a 
proof of excellence t However, we may refer the matter 
to the judgment of your aunt. Though Pani Telimena 
has been living in the capital, and has only recently 
been visiting our neighbourhood, yet she knows more 
about hunting than do young sportsmen : for know- 
ledge comes of itself with years/' 

Thaddeus, upon whom this thunderstorm had un- 
expectedly descended, arose in confusion, and for some 
moments said nothing, but looked upon his rival more 
and more terribly and sternly ; at that moment by great 
good luck the Chamberlain sneezed twice. " Vivat!" 
cried everybody ; he bowed to the company, and slowly 
tapped his snuffbox with his fingers. The snuffbox was 
of gold, set with diamonds, and in the middle of it was 


a portrait of King Stanislaw* 25 The king himself had 
given it to the father of the Chamberlain ; after his 
father the Chamberlain bore it worthily ; whenever he 
tapped upon it, it was a sign that he wished to have the 
floor for a speech* All became silent, no one dared open 
his lips. He spoke : 

44 Honoured gentlemen, my beloved brothers, the 
woods and meadows alone are the hunter's forum, 
therefore such matters I will not pass upon within doors, 
but I will dissolve our sitting until to-morrow, and will 
not permit further argument from either faction to-day* 
Apparitor, call the case for to-morrow in the field ! 
To-morrow the Count too will be here with all his 
hunting train, and you, my neighbour Judge, will ride 
out with us, and Pani Telimena, and the young ladies 
and gentlemen ; in a word we will form a great official 
hunting party, and the Seneschal, too, will not deny us 
his companionship/' 

So saying he offered his snuffbox to the old man* 

The Seneschal had been sitting at the corner among 
the hunters ; he had been listening with closed eyes, 
but had said not a word, although the young men had 
often inquired his opinion, for no one understood 
hunting better than he. He kept silent, weighed in his 
fingers the pinch of snuff that he had taken from the 
box, and meditated long before he finally used it ; he 
sneezed until the whole room echoed, and shaking his 
head, he said with a bitter smile : 

" O how this saddens and amazes me in my old age ! 
What would the hunters of old times say of this, if they 
should see that amid so many gentlemen, in so large a 
gathering, disputes over a hound's tail had to be de- 
bated t What would old Rejtan say of this were he to 


come to life again S* He would go back to Lachowicze 
and lay himself in his grave* What would the old 
wojewoda Niesiolowski 26 say, a man who still has the 
finest kennel in the world, and maintains in lordly wise 
two hundred hunters, and who has a hundred waggon- 
loads of nets in his castle of Woroncsa, and yet for so 
many years has been abiding like a monk within his 
house i No one can persuade him to accept an invita- 
tion to hunt ; he refused even Bialopiotrowicz 27 him- 
self ! For what would he capture at your hunts i It 
would be fine glory, if such a gentleman, in accordance 
with the present fashion, should ride out against rabbits ! 
In my time, sir, in hunter's language, the boar, the bear, 
the elk, the wolf were known as noble beasts, but beasts 
without tusks, horns, or claws were left for hired ser- 
vants or farm labourers* No gentleman would ever 
consent to take in hand a musket that had been put to 
shame by having small shot sprinkled in it ! To be sure 
they kept hounds, for when they were returning from 
a hunt it might happen that some wretched hare would 
start up from beneath a steed ; then they let loose the 
pack at it for sport, and the little lads chased it on ponies 
before the eyes of their parents, who hardly deigned 
to look on such a chase, much less to quarrel over it ! 
So I beg that Your Honour the Chamberlain will deign 
to recall your commands, and will forgive me that I 
cannot ride to such a hunting party, and never will set 
foot in one ! My name is Hreczecha, and since the days 
of King Lech M no Hreczecha has ever ridden out after 

Here the laughter of the young men drowned the speech 
of the SeneschaL They rose from the table ; the Cham- 
berlain moved first ; this honour befitted him from his 


age and his office ; as he advanced he bowed to the 
ladies, the old men, and the young men. After him went 
the Collector of Alms, and the Judge alongside the 
Bernardine ; at the threshold the Judge offered his 
arm to the Chamberlain's wife, Thaddeus to Telimena, 
the Assessor to the Carver's daughter, and finally 
the Notary to Panna Hreczecha, the daughter of the 

Thaddeus went to the stable with several of the guests, 
and felt disturbed, glum, and morose ; he thought over 
all the events of the day, the meeting and the supper 
by the side of his fair neighbour and in particular the 
word " aunt " buzzed continually in his ear like an 
importunate fly. He would have liked to learn more 
about Pani Telimena from the Apparitor, but he could 
not catch him ; nor did he see the Seneschal, for 
immediately after supper all had followed the guests 
out, as befits serving men, and had gone to prepare the 
rooms for rest. The older people and the ladies slept in 
the mansion ; the young men Thaddeus, as the host's 
representative, had been directed to take to the stable, 
where they were to sleep on the hay. 

Within a half-hour it was as quiet on the whole 
estate as in a cloister after the bell for prayer; the 
silence was interrupted only by the voice of the night 
watchman. All were asleep. The Judge alone did not 
close his eyes ; as the head of the estate, he was thinking 
over a walking party, and the coming entertainment 
within the house. He gave orders to the stewards, the 
overseers, and the grain-wardens ; to the scribes, the 
housekeeper, the huntsmen, and the grooms ; and he 
had to look through all the day's accounts ; finally he 
told the Apparitor that he wished to undress. The 


Apparitor undid his belt, a belt from Sluck, 29 a massive 
belt, on which glittered tassels thick as helmet-plumes ; 
on one side it was gold brocade with purple flowers, 
on the reverse black silk with silver cross-stripes. Such 
a belt may be worn equally well on either side, golden 
for a holiday, and black for mourning. The Apparitor 
alone knew how to undo and fold up this belt ; he took 
this trouble upon himself and ended with the following 
speech : 

" Where was the harm that I moved the tables to the 
old castle t No one has lost thereby, and you, sir, will 
perhaps gain, for tlie suit now before the court concerns 
the ownership of that castle. From this day we have 
acquired a right to the castle, and notwithstanding all 
the fury of the opposite side I will prove that we have 
taken the castle into our possession. For whoever 
invites guests to supper in a castle proves that he holds 
possession there or takes it ; we will even summon 
the opposite side as witnesses : I remember such hap- 
penings in my time." 

The Judge was already asleep. So the Apparitor 
quietly went out into the hall, seated himself by a candle, 
and took from his pocket a little book that always served 
him as a Prayer Book, 30 and from which he never was 
parted, either at home or on a journey. It was the Court 
Calendar ; 31 there in order were written down cases 
which years ago the Apparitor had proclaimed with 
his own voice, before the authorities, or of which he 
had managed to learn later. To common men the 
Calendar seems a mere list of names, but to the Appari- 
tor it was a succession of magnificent pictures. So he 
read and mused : Oginski and Wizgird, the Dominicans 
and Rymsza, Rymssa and Wysogierd, Radziwill and 


Wereszczaka, Giedrojc and Rodultowski, Obuchowicz 
and the Jewish commune, Juraha and Piotrowski, 
Maleski and Mickiewicz, and finally Count Horeszko 
and Soplica ; and, as he read, he called forth from these 
names the memory of mighty cases, and all the events 
of the trial ; and before his eyes stand the court, plaintiff, 
defendant, and witnesses ; and he beholds himself, how 
in a white smock and dark blue kontusz he stands before 
the tribunal, with one hand on his sabre and the other 
on the table, summoning the two parties. " Silence ! " 
he calls. Thus dreaming and finishing his evening 
prayer, gradually the last court apparitor in Lithuania 
fell asleep. 

Such were the amusements and disputes of those 
days in the quiet Lithuanian village, while the rest of 
the world was swimming in tears and blood, and while 
that man, the god of war, surrounded by a cloud of 
regiments, armed with a thousand cannon, harnessing 
to his chariot golden eagles beside those of silver, 32 was 
flying from the deserts of Libya to the lofty Alps, cast- 
ing thunderbolt on thunderbolt, at the Pyramids, at 
Tabor, Marengo, Ulm, and Austerlitz. Victory and 
Conquest ran before and after him. The glory of so 
many exploits, heavy with the names of heroes, went 
roaring from the Nile to the North, until at the shores of 
the Niemen it was beaten back as from crags by the 
Muscovite lines that defended Lithuania as with walls 
of iron against tidings terrible for Russia as the plague. 

And yet now and then, like a stone from the sky, news 
came even to Lithuania ; now and then an old man, 
lacking a hand or a foot, who was begging his bread, 
would stand and cast cautious eyes around, when he had 
received alms. If he saw no Russian soldiers in the yard, 


or Jewish caps, or red collars, then he would confess 
who he was : he was a member of the Polish legions, 
and was bringing back his old bones to that fatherland 
which he could no longer defend. Then how all the 
family how even the servants embraced him, choking 
with tears ! He would seat himself at the board and tell 
of history more strange than fable ; he would relate how 
General Dombrowski w was making efforts to penetrate 
from the Italian land into Poland, how he was gather- 
ing his countrymen on the plains of Lombardy ; how 
Kniaziewicz M was issuing commands from the Roman 
Capitol, and how, as- a victor, he had cast in the eyes of 
the French an hundred bloody standards torn from the 
descendants of the Caesars ; how Jablonowski * had 
reached the land where the pepper grows and where 
sugar is produced, and where in eternal spring bloom 
fragrant woods : with the legion of the Danube there 
the Polish general smites the negroes, but sighs for his 
native soil. 

The words of the old man would spread secretly 
through the village ; the lad who heard them would 
vanish suddenly from home, would steal mysteriously 
through the forests and swamps, pursued by the Mus- 
covites, would leap to hiding in the Niemen, and beneath 
its flood swim to the shore of the Grand Duchy of 
Warsaw, where he would hear sweet words of greeting, 
" Welcome, comrade ! " But before he departed, he 
would climb a stony hill and call to the Muscovites 
across the Niemen : " Until we meet again ! " Thus 
there had stolen away Gorecki, Pac, and Obuchowicz ; 
Piotrowski, Obolewski, Ro2ycki, Janowicz, the Mirze- 
jewskis, Brochocki and the brothers Bernatowicz, 
Kupsc, Gedymin, and others whom I will not enumerate; 


they had abandoned their kinsmen and their beloved 
land, and their estates, which were seized for the Tsar's 

Sometimes there came to Lithuania a collector of alms 
from a foreign convent, and after he became more 
closely acquainted with the lords of an estate, he would 
show them a gazette, which he cut out from his scapulary. 
In it would be set forth the number of soldiers and the 
names of all the leaders in every legion ; with an ac- 
count of the victory of each or of his doom. After many 
years, a family would have news for the first time of the 
life, the glory, or the death of a son ; the house would 
put on mourning, but dared not tell for whom they 
mourned. The neighbours merely guessed the news, 
and only the quiet grief of the gentry, or their quiet 
joy, was the gazette of the peasants. 

Robak was probably just such a mysterious collector 
of alms ; he often conversed apart with the Judge, and 
always after these talks tidings of some sort spread 
abroad in the neighbourhood. The bearing of the 
Bernardine betrayed the fact that this monk had not 
always worn a cowl, and had not grown old within 
cloister walls. Over his right ear, somewhat above his 
temple, he had a scar as broad as one's palm, where the 
skin had been sheared off; and on his chin was the 
recent trace of a lance or bullet ; these wounds he had 
surely not received while reading the missal. But not 
merely his grim glance and his scars, even his move- 
ments and his voice had something soldierlike about 

At the Mass, when with uplifted arms he turned from 
the altar to the people, in order to pronounce, " The 
Lord be with you," he often turned as skilfully with a 


single movement as if he were executing a right-about- 
face at the command of his captain ; and he pronounced 
the words of the liturgy to the people in the same tone 
as an officer standing before a squadron : the boys who 
served him at the mass remarked this, Robak was also 
better versed in political affairs than in the lives of the 
saints ; and when he was riding about gathering alms 
he often tarried in the district town. He had a multi- 
tude of interests : now he received letters, which he 
never opened in the presence of strangers ; now he sent 
off messengers, but whither and for what he did not say ; 
often he stole out by night to the squires* mansions, and 
continually whispered with the gentry ; he trudged 
through all the neighbouring villages, and in the taverns 
talked not a little with the village boors, and always of 
what was going on in foreign lands. Now he came to 
arouse the Judge, who had already been an hour asleep ; 
surely he had some tidings. 



Hunting the hare with hounds A guest in the castle The last of the 
retainers tells the story of the last of the Horeszkos A glance into 
the garden The girl among the cucumbers Breakfast Pani 
Telimena's St. Petersburg story New outbreak of the quarrel 
over Bobtail and Falcon The intervention of Robak The 
Seneschal's speech The wager Off for mushrooms. 

WHO among us does not remember the years when, as 
a young lad, with his gun on his shoulder, he went 
whistling into the fields, where no rampart, no fence 
blocked his path ; where, when you overstepped a 
boundary strip, you did not recognise it as belonging to 
another ! For in Lithuania a hunter is like a ship upon 
the sea ; wherever he will, and by whatever path he 
will, he roams far and wide ! Like a prophet he gazes 
on the sky, where in the clouds there are many signs 
that the hunter's eye can see ; or like an enchanter he 
talks with the earth, which, though deaf to city-dwellers, 
whispers into his ear with a multitude of voices. 

There a land rail calls from the meadow it is vain 
to seek it, for it flees away through the grass like a pike 
in the Niemen ; there above your head sounds the bell 
of early spring, the lark, hidden as deeply in the sky ; 
there an eagle rustles with its broad wings through 
the airy heights, spreading terror among sparrows as a 
comet among stars ; or a hawk, hanging beneath the 



clear blue vault, flutters its wings like a butterfly impaled 
on a pin, until, catching sight in the meadow of a bird 
or a hare, it swoops upon it from on high like a falling 

When will the Lord God permit us to return from 
our wanderings, and again to dwell upon our ancestral 
fields, and to serve in the cavalry that makes war on 
rabbits, or in the infantry that bears arms against birds ; 
to know no other weapons than the scythe and the sickle, 
and no other gazettes than the household accounts ! 

Over Soplicowo auose the sun, and it already fell 
on the thatched roofs, and through the chinks stole into 
the stable ; and over the fresh, dark-green, fragrant hay 
of which the young men had made them a bed there 
streamed twinkling, golden bands from the openings 
of the black thatch, like ribbons from a braid of hair ; 
and the sun teased the faces of the sleepers with its 
morning beams, like a village girl awakening her sweet- 
heart with an ear of wheat. Already the sparrows had 
begun to hop and twitter beneath the thatch, already 
the gander had cackled thrice, and after it, as an echo, 
the ducks and turkeys resounded in chorus, and one 
could hear the bellowing of the kine on their way to the 

The young men had arisen ; Thaddeus still lay 
dozing, for he had gone to sleep last of all. From the 
supper of the day before he had come back so disquieted 
that at cockcrow he had not yet closed his eyes, and on 
his couch he tossed about so violently that he sank into 
the hay as into water ; at last he fell sound asleep. 
Finally a cool breeze blew in his eyes, when the creaking 
doors of the stable were opened with a crash ; and the 
Bernardine, Father Robak, came in with his belt of 


knotted cord, calling out, " Surge, puer ! " and plying 
jocosely over his shoulders his knotted belt* 

Already in the yard could be heard the cries of the 
hunters ; horses were being led forth, waggons were 
coming up ; hardly could the yard contain such a 
throng. The horns sounded, they opened the kennels* 
The pack of hounds rushing out whined joyfully ; 
seeing the chargers of the huntsmen and the leashes 
of their keepers, the dogs as if mad scampered about 
the enclosure, then ran and put their necks in the 
collars. All this foreboded a very fine hunt ; at last the 
Chamberlain gave the order to proceed. 

The hunters started slowly, one after another, but 
beyond the gate they spread out in a long line ; in the 
middle of it rode side by side the Assessor and the Notary, 
and though they occasionally cast a malicious glance 
at each other, they conversed in friendly fashion, like 
men of honour, who were on their way to settle a 
mortal quarrel ; no one from their words could have 
remarked their mutual hatred : the Notary led Bobtail, 
the Assessor Falcon. The ladies in carriages brought 
up the rear ; the young men, galloping alongside near 
the wheels, talked with the ladies. 

Father Robak walked with slow steps about the yard, 
finishing his morning prayers, but he glanced at Thad- 
deus, frowned, smiled, and finally motioned to him 
with his finger. When Thaddeus rode up, Robak 
with his finger on his nose made him a threatening 
sign ; but despite the requests and entreaties of Thad- 
deus that he would explain to him clearly what he meant, 
the Bernardine did not deign to answer or even to look 
at him again ; he merely pulled his cowl over his face 
and finished his prayer : so Thaddeus rode off and 
joined the guests. 


Just at that instant the hunters were holding their 
leashes and all were standing motionless in their places ; 
each gave a sign to the other to be silent, and all had 
turned their eyes to a stone near which the Judge had 
halted : he had caught sight of the game, and was 
waving his arms in order to make his orders known. 
All understood him and stopped, and slowly across 
the field trotted the Assessor and the Notary ; Thaddeus, 
being nearer, arrived before them, paused beside the 
Judge, and gazed at the spot to which he was pointing. 
It was long since he, had been in the field ; on the grey 
expanse it was hard to distinguish the grey rabbit, 
especially amid the stones. The Judge pointed him out ; 
the poor hare was crouched cowering beneath a stone, 
pricking up its ears ; with a crimson eye it met the gasje 
of the hunters ; as if bewitched, and conscious of its 
destiny, for very terror it could not turn its eye away from 
theirs, but beneath the rock crouched dead as a rock. 
Meanwhile the dust in the field came nearer and nearer, 
Bobtail was running in his leash and after him the fleet 
Falcon ; then the Assessor and the Notary shouted at 
once behind them, " At him/' and vanished with the 
dogs in clouds of dust. 

While they were thus pursuing the hare, the Count 
made his appearance near the castle wood. All the 
neighbours knew that this gentleman could never present 
himself at the appointed time ; to-day also he had 
overslept, and was therefore in a scolding humour with 
his servants. Seeing the hunters in the field, he galloped 
towards them, with the skirts of his long white coat, of 
English cut, trailing in the wind. Behind him were 
mounted servants, wearing little black shiny caps like 
mushrooms, short jackets, striped boots, and white 


pantaloons ; the servants whom the Count thus 
costumed, in his mansion were called jockeys. 

The galloping train was rushing towards the meadows, 
when the Count caught sight of the castle and checked 
his horse. It was the first time that he had seen the 
castle so early, and he could not believe that these were 
the same walls, so wonderful a freshness and beauty 
had the early morning imparted to the outlines of the 
building* The Count marvelled at so new a sight. The 
tower seemed to him twice as high, for it rose up above 
the early mist ; the tin roof was gilded by the sun, and 
beneath it shone in the sashes fragments of the broken 
panes, breaking the eastern beams into many-coloured 
rainbows ; the lower stories were wrapped in a mantle 
of mist that hid from the eye the cracks and huge nicks. 
The cries of the distant hunters, borne on the winds, 
echoed several times against the castle walls ; you 
would have sworn that the cry came from the castle, 
that under the curtain of fog the walls had been restored 
and were again inhabited. 

The Count liked new and unwonted sights, and called 
them romantic ; he used to say that he had a romantic 
head, but truth to say he was an out-and-out crank. 
Sometimes when chasing a fox or a hare he would 
suddenly stop and gase mournfully at the sky, like a cat 
when it sees a sparrow on a tall pine ; often he wandered 
through the wood without dog or gun, like a run-away 
recruit ; often he sat by a brook motionless, inclining 
his head over a stream, like a heron that wants to con- 
sume all the fish with its eye. Such were the queer 
habits of the Count; everybody said that there was 
some screw loose in him. Yet they respected him, for 
he was a gentleman of ancient lineage, rich, kind to his 


peasants, and affable and friendly with his neighbours, 
even with the Jews* 

The Count's horse, which he had turned off the road, 
trotted straight across the field to the threshold of the 
castle* The Count, left solitary, sighed, looked at the 
walls, took out paper and pencil, and began to draw* 
Thereupon, looking to one side, he saw a dozen steps 
away a man who seemed likewise a lover of the pictur- 
esque ; with his head thrown back and his hands in his 
pockets he seemed to be counting the stones with his 
eyes* The Count recognised him at once, but he had 
to call several times before Gerwasy heard his voice. 
He was a man of gentle birth, a servitor of the ancient 
lords of the castle, the last that remained of the Horeszkos' 
retainers ; a tall grey-haired old man with a hale and 
rugged countenance, ploughed by wrinkles, gloomy and 
stern. Of old he had been famous among the gentry for 
his jollity ; but since the battle in which the owner of 
the castle had perished, Gerwazy had changed, and now 
for many years he had not gone to any fair or merry- 
making ; since then no one had heard his witty jests 
or seen a smile upon his face. He always wore the ancient 
livery of the Horeszkos, a long yellow coat with skirts, 
trimmed with lace that now was yellow, but once had 
doubtless been gilt ; around its edge was embroidered 
in silk their coat of arms, the Half-Goat, and thence all 
the neighbours had given the title of Half-Goat to the 
old gentleman. Sometimes also, from a phrase that he 
incessantly repeated, they called him My-boy, some- 
times Notchy, for his whole bald head was notched with 
scars. His real name was Rembajlo, but no one knew 
his coat of arms ; he called himself the Warden, because 
years ago he had held that office in the castle. And he 


still wore a great bunch of keys at his girdle, on a band 
with a silver tassel, though he had nothing to open with 
them, for the gates of the castle stood gaping wide* 
However he had found two folding doors, which he had 
repaired and set up at his own expense, and he amused 
himself daily with unlocking these doors. In one of 
the empty rooms he had chosen a habitation for himself ; 
though he might have lived at the Count's mansion on 
alms, he refused, for he pined away everywhere else, 
and felt out of sorts unless he was breathing the air of 
the castle* 

As soon as he caught sight of the Count, he snatched 
the cap from his head, and honoured with a bow the 
kinsman of his lords, inclining a great bald pate that 
shone from afar and was slashed with many a sabre, like 
a chopping-block. He stroked it with his hand, came 
up, and, once more bending low, said mournfully : 

" My boy, young master pardon me, that I speak 
thus to Your Excellency the Count ; such is merely my 
custom, and it betokens no lack of respect. All the 
Horeszkos used to say ' My boy ' ; the last Pantler, my 
lord, was fond of the phrase. Is it true, my boy, that 
you grudge a penny for a lawsuit, and are yielding this 
castle to the Soplicas ^ I would not believe it, yet so 
they say all through the district." 

Here he gased at the castle and sighed incessantly, 

44 What is there strange in that < " said the Count. 
" The cost is great and the bother greater yet ; I want 
to finish up, but the stupid old gentleman is obstinate ; 
he foresaw that he could tire me out. Indeed I cannot 
hold out longer, and to-day I shall lay down arms and 
accept such conditions of agreement as the court may 
offer me." 


" Of agreement t " cried Gerwasy, " of agreement 
with the Soplicas t with the Soplicas, my boy t " (So 
speaking he contorted his lips as though he were amazed 
at his own words,) " Agreement with the Soplicas ! 
My boy, young master, you are jesting, aren't you t 
The castle, the abode of the Horeszkos, pass into the 
hands of the Soplicas ! Only deign to dismount from 
the steed ; let us go into the castle ; just look it over 
a bit ! You do not know yourself what you are doing ; 
do not refuse ; dismount ! " And he held the stirrup 
for him to dismount. 

They entered the castle ; Gerwazy stopped at the 
threshold of the hall : 

" Here/' he said, " the ancient lords, surrounded by 
their retinue, used often to sit in their chairs, after they 
had dined. The lord settled the disputes of the peasants, 
or good humouredly told various curious stories to his 
guests, or found amusement in their tales and jests. 
But in the courtyard the young men fought with staves 
or broke in the master's Turkish ponies," 

They entered the hall, " In this immense paved 
hall," said Gerwazy, " you cannot find as many stones 
as tuns of wine have been broached here in the good 
old times. The gentry, when invited to a diet, a district 
assembly, a family holiday, or a hunting party, would 
pull the casks from the wine cellar on their girdles. 
During the banquet an orchestra was stationed in that 
gallery and played the organ 36 and various other instru- 
ments ; and when they proposed a health the trumpets 
thundered in chorus ; the vivats followed in orderly 
succession, the first to the health of His Majesty the 
King, then to the Primate, 37 then to Her Majesty the 
Queen, then to the Gentry and the whole Republic. 


But finally, after the fifth glass had been drunk, they 
always proposed, ' Let us love one another ! ' a toast 
unceasing, which, proclaimed while daylight still 
lingered, thundered on till dawn, when horses and 
waggons stood ready to carry each guest to his lodging/' 

They passed through several rooms ; Gerwasy in 
silence now fixed his gaze on the wall and now on the 
vaulted ceiling, recalling now a sad and now a pleasant 
memory ; sometimes, as though he would say, " All is 
over," he bowed his head in sorrow; sometimes he 
waved his hand evidently even recollection was a 
torture to him and he wished to drive it off* Finally they 
paused, in a large room on the upper story, once set 
with mirrors ; to-day the mirrors had been removed 
and the frames stood empty ; the sashes lacked their 
panes ; directly opposite the door was a balcony. 
Going out on it, the old man bowed his head in 
thought, and buried his face in his hands ; when he un- 
covered it it wore an expression of great sadness and 
despair. The Count, though he did not know what all 
this meant, when he looked at the face of the old man 
felt a certain emotion, and pressed his hand. The 
silence lasted for a moment ; then the old man broke 
it, shaking his uplifted right hand : 

4 There can be no agreement, my boy, between the 
Soplica and the blood of the Horeszkos ; in you flows 
the blood of the Horeszkos ; you are a kinsman of the 
Pantler by your mother the Mistress of the Hunt, whose 
mother was the child of the second daughter of the 
Castellan, 38 who was, as is well known, the maternal 
uncle of my lord. Now listen to a story of your own 
family, which took place in this very room and no other. 
44 My late lord the Pantler, the first gentleman of the 


district, a rich man and of noted family, had but one 
child, a daughter beautiful as an angel ; so not a few of 
the gentry and the young notables paid their court to 
the Pander's daughter. Among the gentry there was 
one great roistering blade, a fighting bully, Jacek Soplica, 
who was called in jest the Wojewoda ; in truth he was 
of great influence in the wojewodeship, for he had 
absolute authority over the whole family of the Soplicas 
and controlled their three hundred votes according to 
his will, although he himself possessed nothing except a 
little plot of ground, a sabre, and great mustaches that 
stretched from ear to ear. So the Pantler often invited 
this ruffian to his place and entertained him there, es- 
pecially at the time of the district diets, in order to make 
himself popular among the fellow's kinsmen and par- 
tisans. The mustachioed champion was so much elated 
by his courteous reception that he took it into his head 
that he might become his host's son-in-law. He came to 
the castle more and more frequently, even when unin- 
vited, and finally settled down among us as if in his own 
home, and it seemed that he was on the point of de- 
claring himself ; but they remarked this, and served him 
at the table with black soup, 39 It may very well be that 
the Pander's daughter had taken a fancy to the Soplica, 
but that she kept it a deep secret from her parents. 

4 Those were the times of Kosciuszko ; my lord 
supported the Constitution of the Third of May, 40 and 
was already gathering the gentry in order to go to the 
aid of the Confederates, when suddenly the Muscovites 
encircled the casde by night ; there was barely time 
to fire an alarm signal from the mortar, and to close the 
gates below and fasten them with a bar. There was no 
one in the whole castle except the Pantler, myself, and 


the lady ; the cook and two turnspits, all three drunk ; 
the parish priest, a servingman, and four footmen, all 
bold fellows. So to arms and to the windows ! Here a 
throng of Muscovites came streaming across the terrace 
to the door, shouting ' Hurrah ! ' But we met them with 
bullets from ten guns, ' Back with youl ' Nothing could 
be seen ; the servants shot without cessation from the 
lower stories, and my lord and I from the balcony. All 
went finely, although amid such great alarm. Twenty 
guns lay here on this floor; we shot one and they 
handed us another ; the parish priest attended diligently 
to this task, and the lady and her daughter, and the 
serving maids : there were but three marksmen, yet the 
fire was unceasing. The Muscovite boors showered on 
us a hail of bullets from below ; we replied from above 
sparsely, but with better aim. Three times that rabble 
pressed up to the door, but each time three of them bit 
the dust : so they fled behind the storehouse. It was 
already early dawn ; with a cheerful face the Pander 
came out on the balcony with his gun, and whenever 
a Muscovite thrust forth his brow from behind the 
storehouse he at once fired and he never missed ; each 
time a black helmet fell on the grass ; so that at length 
scarcely a man crept out from behind the wall. The 
Pantler, seeing his enemies in confusion, thought of 
making a sally ; he seized his sabre, and, shouting from 
the balcony, gave orders to the servants ; turning to 
me he said : * Follow me, Gerwazy ! ' At that instant 
there was a shot from behind the gate ; the Pander's 
speech faltered, he turned red, turned pale, tried to 
speak, spat blood. Then I perceived that he had received 
the bullet full in the breast ; my lord, tottering, pointed 
towards the gate. I recognised that villain Soplica, I 


recognised him ! by his stature and by his mustaches ! 
By his shot the Pantler had perished ; I saw it ! The 
villain still held his gun raised aloft ; smoke still came 
from the barrel ! I sighted at him ; the brigand stood 
as if petrified ! Twice I fired, and both shots missed ; 
whether from hatred or from grief, I aimed ill. I heard 
the shrieks of women ; I looked around my lord was 
no longer living/' 

Here Gerwazy paused and burst into a flood of tears ; 
then he concluded : 

44 The Muscovites -had already broken down the door, 
for after the death of the Pantler I stood helpless and 
did not know what was going on around me* Luckily to 
our help came Parafianowics, bringing from Horbato- 
wicse two hundred of the Mickiewiczes, who are a 
numerous and a valiant family of gentry, every man of 
them, and nourish an immemorial hatred of the Soplicas. 

4 Thus perished a powerful, pious, and just lord, 
whose ancestors had held seats in the Senate, worn 
badges of honour, and carried the hetman's staff of 
office ; a father to his peasants, a brother to the gentry 
and he had no son left after him to vow vengeance on his 
grave ! But he had faithful servants ; with the blood 
of his wound I wet my broadsword, called the penknife 
you have surely heard of my penknife, famous at 
every diet, market, and village assembly and swore to 
notch it on the shoulders of the Soplicas. I pursued 
them at diets, forays, and fairs ; two I hewed down in a 
brawl, two others in a duel ; one I burnt in a wooden 
building, when with Rymsza we sacked Korelicse he 
was baked like a mudfish ; but those whose ears I have 
cut off I cannot count* One only is left who has not yet 
received a reminder from me ! He is the own dear 


brother of that mustachioed bully ; he still lives, and 
boasts of his wealth ; the edge of his field borders on the 
Horeszkos' castle ; he is respected in the district, he 
has an office, he is a judge ! And you will yield the 
castle to him t Shall his base feet wipe the blood of my 
lord from this floor t No ! While Gerwazy has but a 
pennyworth of spirit, and enough strength to move even 
with one little finger his penknife, which still hangs on 
the wall, never shall a Soplica get this castle ! " 

" O ! " cried the Count, raising his hands on high, 
" I had a fair foreboding that I loved these walls, though 
I knew not that they contained such treasures, so many 
dramatic memories, and so many tales ! When once I 
seize from the Soplicas the castle of my ancestors, I will 
establish you within its walls as my burgrave : your 
tale, Gerwazy, has mightily affected me. I regret that 
you did not lead me here at the hour of midnight ; 
draped in my cloak I should have sat upon the ruins and 
you would have told me of bloody deeds. I regret that 
you have no great gift of narration ! Often have I heard 
and often do I read such traditions ; in England and 
Scotland every lord's castle, in Germany every count's 
mansion was the theatre of murders ! In every ancient, 
noble, powerful family there is a report of some bloody 
or treacherous deed, after which vengeance descends as 
an inheritance to the heirs : in Poland for the first 
time do I hear of such an incident. I feel that in me 
flows the blood of the manly Horeszkos, I know what 
I owe to glory and to my family. So be it ! I must break 
off all negotiations with the Soplica, even though it 
should come to pistols or to the sword ! Honour bids 

He spoke, and moved on with solemn steps, and 


Gerwazy followed in deep silence. Before the gate the 
Count stopped, mumbling to himself; gaT^ng at the 
castle he quickly mounted his horse, and thus in dis- 
traction he concluded his monologue : 

" I regret that this old Soplica has no wife, or fair 
daughter whose charms I might adore ! If I loved her 
and could not obtain her hand a new complication would 
arise in the tale ; here the heart, there duty ! here 
vengeance, there love ! " 

So whispering he applied the spurs, and the horse 
flew towards the Judge's mansion, just as the hunters 
came riding out of the wood from the other direction. 
The Count was fond of hunting : hardly had he per- 
ceived the riders, when, forgetting everything, he 
galloped straight towards them, passing by the yard gate, 
the orchard, and the fences; but at a turn of the path he 
looked around and checked his horse near the fence 
it was the kitchen garden* Fruit trees planted in rows 
shaded a broad field ; beneath them were the vegetable 
beds. Here sat a cabbage, which bowed its venerable 
bald head, and seemed to meditate on the fate of 
vegetables ; there, intertwining its pods with the green 
tresses of a carrot, a slender bean turned upon it a 
thousand eyes ; here the maize lifted its golden tassels ; 
here and there could be seen the belly of a fat watermelon 
that had rolled far from its parent stalk into a distant 
land, as a guest among the crimson beets. 

The beds were intersected by furrows ; in each trench 
there stood, as if on guard, ranks of hemp stalks, the 
cypresses of the vegetable garden, calm, straight, and 
green; their leaves and their scent served to defend 
the beds, for through their leaves no serpent dares to 
press, and their scent kills insects and caterpillars. 


Farther away towered up the whitish stalks of poppies ; 
on them you might think a flock of butterflies had 
perched, fluttering their wings, on which flashed, with 
all the colours of the rainbow, the gleam of precious 
stones ; with so many different, living tints did the 
poppies allure the eye* Amid the flowers, like the full 
moon amid the stars, a round sunflower, with a great, 
glowing face, turned after the sun from the east to the 

Beside the fence stretched long, narrow, rounded 
hillocks, free from trees, bushes, and flowers : this was 
the cucumber patch. They had grown finely ; with 
their great, spreading leaves they covered the beds as 
with a wrinkled carpet. Amid them walked a girl, 
dressed in white, sinking up to her knees in the May 
greenery ; stepping down from the beds into the 
furrows, she seemed not to walk but to swim over the 
leaves and to bathe in their bright colour. Her head was 
shaded with a straw hat, from her brow there waved 
two pink ribbons and some tresses of bright, loose hair ; 
in her hands she held a basket, and her eyes were 
lowered ; her right hand was raised as if to pluck some- 
thing : as a little girl when bathing tries to catch the 
fishes that sport with her tiny feet, so she at every 
instant bent down with her hands and her basket to 
gather the cucumbers against which she brushed with 
her foot, or of which her eye caught sight. 

The Count, struck with so marvellous a sight, stood 
still. Hearing from afar the trampling of his comrades, 
he motioned to them with his hand to stop their horses : 
they halted. He gazed with outstretched neck, like a 
long-billed crane that stands apart from the flock, 
on one leg, keeping guard with watchful eyes, and 


holding a stone in the other foot, in order not to fall 

The Count was awakened by a pattering on his 
shoulders and brow ; it was the Bernardine, Father 
Robak, who held aloft in his hand the knotted cords 
of his belt. 

44 Will you have cucumbers t " he cried ; " Here 
they are ! " [So saying he showed him the knots on his 
belt, which were shaped like cucumbers. 41 ] 4t Look out 
for danger, in this garden patch there is no fruit for you ; 
nothing will come of jt ! " 

Then he threatened him with his finger, adjusted his 
cowl, and departed ; the Count tarried on the spot a 
moment more, cursing and yet laughing at this sudden 
hindrance. He glanced at the garden, but she was no 
longer in the garden ; only her pink ribbon and her 
white gown flashed through the window. On the garden 
bed one could see the path by which she had flown, for 
the green leaves, spurned by her foot in her flight, 
raised themselves and trembled an instant before they 
became quiet, like water cut by the wings of a bird* 
Only on the place where she had been standing, her 
abandoned willow basket, empty and overturned, was 
still poised upon the leaves and tossing amid the green 

An instant later all was silent and deserted ; the Count 
fixed his eyes on the house and strained his ears ; still 
he mused, and still the huntsmen stood motionless 
behind him. Then in the quiet deserted house arose 
first a murmur, then an uproar and merry cries, as in 
an empty hive when bees fly back into it : that was a 
sign that the guests had returned from hunting, and that 
the servants were busying themselves with breakfast. 



Through all the rooms there reigned a mighty bustle ; 
they were carrying about platters, plates of food and 
bottles ; the men, just as they had come in, in their 
green suits, walked about the rooms with plates and 
glasses, and ate and drank ; or, leaning against the win- 
dow casements, they talked of guns, hounds, and hares. 
The Chamberlain and his family and the Judge were 
seated at the table ; in a corner the young ladies whis- 
pered together ; there was no such order as is observed 
at dinners and suppers. In this old-fashioned Polish 
household this was a new custom ; at breakfasts the 
Judge, though loth, permitted such disorder, but he 
did not commend it. 

There were likewise different dishes for the ladies 
and for the gentlemen. Here they carried around trays 
with an entire coffee service, immense trays, charmingly 
painted with flowers, and on them fragrant, smoking tin 
pots, and golden cups of Dresden china, and with each 
cup a tiny little jug of cream. In no other country is 
there such coffee as in Poland. In Poland, in a respect- 
able household, a special woman is, by ancient custom, 
charged with the preparation of coffee. She is called 
the coffee-maker ; she brings from the city, or gets from 
the river barges, 42 berries of the finest sort, and she 
knows secret ways of preparing the drink, which is black 
as coal, transparent as amber, fragrant as mocha, and 
thick as honey. Everybody knows how necessary for 
coffee is good cream : in the country this is not hard 
to get; for the coffee-maker, early in the day, after 
setting her pots on the fire, visits the dairy, and with 
her own hands lightly skims the fresh flower of the milk 
into a separate little jug for each cup, that each of them 
may be dressed in its separate little cap. 


The older ladies had risen earlier and had already 
drunk their coffee ; now they had had made for them 
a second dish, of warm beer, whitened with cream, in 
which swam curds cut into little bits. 

The gentlemen had their choice of smoked meats ; 
fat half-geese, hams, and slices of tongue all choice, 
all cured in home fashion in the chimney with juniper 
smoke. Finally they brought in stewed beef with gravy ^ 
as the last course : such was breakfast in the Judge's 

In adjoining rooms two separate companies had 
gathered. The older people, grouped about a small 
table, talked of new ways of farming, and of the new 
imperial edicts, which were growing more and more 
severe. The Chamberlain discussed the current rumours 
of war and based on them conclusions as to politics. 
The Seneschal's daughter, putting on blue spectacles, 
amused the Chamberlain's wife by telling fortunes with 
cards. In the other room the younger men talked over 
the hunt in a more calm and quiet fashion than was 
usually the case ; for the Assessor and the Notary, 
both mighty orators, the foremost experts on the chase 
and the best huntsmen, sat opposite each other glum 
and angry. Both had set on their hounds well, both had 
felt certain of victory, when in the middle of the field 
there turned up a patch of unreaped spring corn be- 
longing to a peasant. Into this the hare fled ; Bobtail 
and Falcon were each about to seize it, when the Judge 
checked the horsemen at the border of the field ; they 
had to obey, although in great wrath. The dogs returned 
without their prey, and no one knew for sure whether 
the beast had escaped or had been caught; no one 
could guess whether it had fallen into the clutches of 


Bobtail, or of Falcon, or of both at once* The two sides 
held different opinions, and the settlement of the quarrel 
was postponed to the future* 

The old Seneschal passed from room to room, 
glancing absentmindedly about him ; he mixed neither 
in the talk of the hunters nor in that of the old men, 
and evidently had something else on his mind. He 
carried a leather flapper ; sometimes he would stop, 
meditate long, and kill a fly on the wall* 

Thaddeus and Telimena, standing on the threshold in 
the doorway between the rooms, were talking together ; 
no great distance divided them from hearers, so they 
whispered* Thaddeus now learned that Aunt Telimena 
was a rich lady, that they were not so near of kin as to 
be separated by the canons of the Church ; that it was 
not even certain that Aunt Telimena was any blood 
relation of her nephew, although his uncle called her 
sister, because their common kindred had once so 
styled them despite the difference of their years ; that 
later, during her long residence in the capital, she had 
rendered inestimable services to the Judge ; for which 
reason the Judge greatly respected her, and in society 
liked, perhaps as a mere whim, to call himself her 
brother, which Telimena, for friendship's sake, did 
not forbid him. These confessions lightened the heart 
of Thaddeus* They also informed each other of other 
things; and all this happened in one short, brief moment* 

But in the room to the right, tempting the Assessor, 
the Notary casually remarked : 

44 I said yesterday that our hunting party could not 
succeed ; it is still too early, the grain is still in the 
ear, and there are many strips of unreaped spring corn, 
belonging to the peasants* For this reason the Count 


did not come, despite our invitation. The Count has 
an excellent knowledge of the chase; he has often 
discoursed of the proper time and places for hunting. 
The Count from childhood up has dwelt in foreign 
parts, and he says that it is a mark of barbarism to hunt, 
as we do, with no regard to laws, ordinances, and 
government regulations ; to ride over another man's 
estate without the knowledge of the owner, without 
respecting any man's landmarks or boundaries ; to 
course the fields and woods in spring as well as in sum- 
mer ; sometimes to -kill a fox just when it is moulting, 
or to allow the hounds to run down a pregnant hare in 
the winter corn, or rather to torture it, with great damage 
to the game. Hence the Count admits with regret that 
civilisation is on a higher plane among the Muscovites, 
for there they have ukases of the Tsar on hunting, and 
police supervision, and punishment for offenders/' 

44 As I love my mother," said Telimena, turning to 
the left-hand room and fanning her shoulders with a 
small batiste handkerchief ; "the Count is not mis- 
taken ; I know Russia well. You people would not 
believe me when I used to tell you in how many respects 
the watchfulness and strictness of that government are 
worthy of praise. I have been in St. Petersburg more 
than once or twice ! Tender memories ! charming 
images of the past ! What a city ! Have none of you 
been in St. Petersburg i Perhaps you would like to see 
a map of it ; I have a map of the city in my desk. In 
summer St. Petersburg society usually lives in dachas, 
that is, in rural palaces (dacha means cottage). I lived 
in a little palace, just above the river Neva, not too near 
the city, and not too far from it, on a small artificial 
hill. Ah, what a cottage that was ! I still have the plan 


in my desk. Now to my misfortune a certain petty 
official, who was serving on an inquest, hired a house 
near by. He kept several hounds ; what torture, when 
a petty official and a kennel live close by ! Whenever 
I went out into the garden with a book to enjoy the light 
of the moon and the coolness of the evening, immediately 
a dog would rush up and wag its tail and prick up its 
ears as if it were mad. I was often terrified. My heart 
foreboded some misfortune from those dogs, and so it 
came to pass : for when I went into the garden on a cer- 
tain morning, a hound throttled at my feet my beloved 
little King Charles spaniel ! Ah, he was a lovely little 
dog ; Prince Sukin ** gave him to me as a present to 
remember him by clever, and lively as a squirrel ; I 
have his portrait, only I don't want to go to my desk 
now. Seeing it strangled, owing to my great distress I 
had a fainting spell, spasms, palpitation of the heart ; 
perhaps my health might have suffered even more 
severely. Luckily, just then there rode up on a visit 
Kirilo Gavrilich Kozodusin, 46 the Master of the Hunt 
of the Court, who inquired the cause of so serious an 
attack. He had the police sergeant pulled in by the ears; 
the man stood there pale, trembling, and scarcely alive. 
4 How dare you/ shouted Kirilo with a voice of thunder, 
4 course in spring a pregnant doe, here under the nose 
of the Tsar $* ' The amazed sergeant in vain swore that 
he had not yet begun his hunting, and that with the 
august permission of the Master of the Hunt, the beast 
coursed seemed to him to be a dog and not a doe. 
4 What ! ' shouted Kirilo, ' do you dare, you scoundrel, 
to say that you have more knowledge of hunting and 
the varieties of beasts than I, Kosodusin, the Tsar's 
Jagermeister < The Chief of Police shall at once pass 


judgment between us/ They summoned the Chief 
of Police and told him to take down the evidence* ' I,' 
said Kosodusin, ' hereby testify that this is a doe ; he 
impudently alleges that it is a domestic dog. Judge 
between us, which of us better understands beasts and 
hunting/ The Chief of Police understood the duties of 
his office, and was greatly amazed at the insolence of 
the sergeant; taking him aside he gave him brotherly 
advice to plead guilty and thereby atone for his offence. 
The Master of the Hunt was mollified and promised that 
he would intercede with the Emperor and somewhat 
mitigate the sentence. The matter ended by the dogs 
being sent to be strangled, and the sergeant to prison 
for four weeks. This trifle amused us the whole evening ; 
the next day the story spread abroad that the Master 
of the Hunt had taken up the case of my little dog, and 
I even know for a fact that the Emperor himself laughed 
over it." 

Laughter arose in both rooms. The Judge and the 
Bernardine were playing at marriage ; spades were 
trumps, and the Judge was just about to make an im- 
portant play. The Monk could hardly breathe for excite- 
ment, when the Judge caught the beginning of the story, 
and was so interested in it that with head thrown back 
and card uplifted, ready to take the trick, he sat quiet 
and only alarmed the Bernardine, until, when the story 
was ended, he played his knave, and said with a laugh : 

" Let whoever will praise the civilisation of the Ger- 
mans, or the strict discipline of the Muscovites ; let 
the men of Great Poland ** learn from the Suabians to 
go to law over a fox, and summon constables to arrest a 
hound that has ventured into another man's grove ; 
in Lithuania, thank the Lord, we keep up the old ways : 


we have enough game for ourselves and for our neigh- 
bours, and shall never complain to the police about it ; 
and we have enough grain, so that the dogs will not 
famish us by running through the spring wheat or the 
rye ; on the peasants' fields alone do I forbid hunting." 

" It is no wonder, sir/' called the Steward from the 
room at the left, " since you pay dear for such game. 
The peasants are glad of the chance ; when a dog runs 
into their wheat, if he shakes out ten ears, then you 
repay three score and are not content even with that ; 
often the boors get a thaler into the bargain. Believe 
me, sir, that the peasants will grow very insolent, if " 

The rest of the Steward's argument the Judge could 
not hear, for between the two discourses there had begun 
a dozen conversations, jests, stories, and even disputes. 

Thaddeus and Telimena had been forgotten by all 
the rest of the company, and were absorbed in each 
other. The lady was glad that her wit had amused 
Thaddeus so greatly ; in return, the young man 
showered compliments on her. Telimena spoke more 
and more slowly and softly, and Thaddeus pretended 
that he could not hear her in the buzz of voices ; so, 
whispering, he drew so near her that he felt on his face 
the pleasant warmth of her brow ; holding his breath, 
he caught her sighs with his lips, and with his eye he 
followed every sparkle of her glance. 

Then between them there suddenly darted first a 
fly and after it the Seneschal's flapper. 

In Lithuania there are swarms of flies. Among them 
there is a special variety, called " gentry flies " ; in 
colour and form they are quite like others, but they have 
a broader breast, a larger belly than the common sort ; 
as they fly they hum loudly and buzz beyond all en- 


durance, and they are so strong that they will break right 
through a spider's web; or if one is caught, it will buzz 
there for three days, for it can contend with the spider 
in single combat. All this the Seneschal had carefully 
observed, and he argued further that these gentry flies 
produce the smaller folk, corresponding among flies 
to the queen bee in a swarm, and that with their de- 
struction the remnant of those insects would perish. 
To be sure, neither the housekeeper nor the parish 
priest had ever believed these deductions of the Senes- 
chal, but held quite* different views as to the nature of 
flies ; the Seneschal, however, did not waver from his 
ancient habit ; whenever he caught sight of such a fly he 
immediately pursued it. Just at that moment a " gentle- 
man " trumpeted above his ear ; twice the Seneschal 
swung at it, and to his amazement missed ; a third 
time he swung at it, and almost knocked out a window. 
At last the fly, bewildered by such an uproar, seeing on 
the threshold two people that barred his retreat, threw 
itself in desperation between their faces. Even there the 
right hand of the Seneschal darted in pursuit of it ; 
the blow was so violent that the two heads sprang apart 
like the two halves of a tree torn asunder by a thunder- 
bolt ; both bumped against the doorposts so violently 
that they got black and blue spots. 

Luckily no one noticed this, for the conversation, 
which hitherto had been lively and animated, but fairly 
orderly, ended in a sudden clamorous outburst. As, 
when foxhunters are entering a wood, one hears from 
time to time the crackling of trees, scattered shots, and 
the baying of the pack ; but then the master of the 
hounds unexpectedly starts the game ; he gives the 
signal, and a hubbub arises in the throng of huntsmen 


and dogs, as if every tree of the thicket had found a 
voice : such is the case with conversation it moves 
on slowly, until it happens on a weighty topic, as dogs 
on the game. The game of the hunters' talk was that 
furious dispute of the Notary and the Assessor over 
their famous hounds. It lasted only a short time, but 
they accomplished much in a single instant, for in one 
breath they hurled so many words and insults that they 
exhausted the usual three-fourths of a dispute taunts, 
anger, and challenge and were already getting ready 
to use their fists. 

So all rushed towards them from the other room, and, 
pouring through the doorway like a swift wave, carried 
away the young couple who were standing on the thres- 
hold like Janus, the two-headed god. 

Before Thaddeus and Telimena could smooth the hair 
on their heads, the threatening shouts had died away ; 
a murmur mixed with laughter was spreading through 
the throng, a truce had come to the brawl; the Monk had 
appeased it an old man, but strong and with very broad 
shoulders. Just as the Assessor had run up to the Jurist, 
and when the combatants were already making threaten- 
ing gestures at each other, he suddenly seized them both 
by the collar from behind, and twice knocking their 
two heads violently together like Easter eggs, he spread 
out his arms like a signpost, and tossed them at the 
same moment into opposite corners of the room ; for a 
moment he stood still with outstretched arms, and cried, 
" Pax, pax, pax vobiscum ; peace be with you ! " 

Both factions were amazed and even began to laugh. 
Because of the respect due to a cleric they did not dare 
to revile the Monk, and after such a test no one had any 
desire to start a quarrel with him. And Father Robak 


soon calmed the assembly; it was evident that he had not 
sought any triumph ; he did not further threaten the 
two brawlers or scold them ; he only adjusted his cowl, 
and, tucking his hands into his belt, quietly left the room. 

Meanwhile the Chamberlain and the Judge had taken 
a stand between the two factions. The Seneschal, as 
if aroused from deep thought, stepped into their midst 
and ran his fiery eye over the assembly ; wherever 
he still heard a murmur, there he waved soothingly 
his leather flapper, as a priest his sprinkler ; finally, 
raising impressively the handle of it on high, like a 
marshal's staff, he imposed silence. 

44 Hold your peace ! " he repeated, 44 and bear in 
mind, you who are the foremost hunters in the district, 
what will come of a scandalous brawl. Are you aware t 
These young men, in whom is the hope of our country, 
who are to bring fame to our groves and forests, who, 
alas ! even now neglect the chase, may receive thereby 
a new impulse to despise it, if they see that those who 
should give examples to others, bring back from the 
chase only wrangling and quarrels. Have also due 
regard for my grey hairs, for I have known greater 
sportsmen than you, and I have often judged between 
them as an arbitrator. In the Lithuanian forests who has 
been equal to Rejtan, either in stationing a line of beaters, 
or in himself encountering the beast t Who can com- 
pare himself with Jersy Bialopiotrowics ^ Where is 
there such a marksman to-day as Zegota, who with a 
pistol shot could hit a rabbit on the run t I knew 
Terajewics, who, when he went out for wild boars, 
took no other arms than a pike, and Budrewics, who used 
to fight singly against a bear ! Such men did our forests 
once behold 1 If it came to a dispute, how did they settle 


the dispute ^ Why, they chose judges and set up stakes* 
Oginski lost three thousand acres of woodland over a 
wolf, and a badger cost Niesiolowski several villages ! 
Now do you gentlemen follow the example of your 
elders, and settle your dispute in this way, even though 
you may set up a smaller stake. Words are wind ; to 
wordy disputes there is no end ; it is a shame to tire 
our ears longer with a brawl over a rabbit : so do you 
first choose arbitrators ; and, whatever their verdict may 
be, conscientiously abide by it, I will beg the Judge 
not to forbid the master of the hounds to lead the chase 
even across the wheat, and I hope that I shall obtain 
this favour from my lord/' 

So saying, he embraced the knees of the Judge. 

" A horse! " shouted the Notary, " I will stake a horse 
with his caparison ; and I will further covenant before 
the local court, that I deposit this ring as a reward for 
our arbitrator, the Judge/' 

" I," said the Assessor, " will stake my golden dog- 
collars, covered with lizard-skin, with rings of gold, 
and my leash of woven silk, the workmanship of which 
is as marvellous as the jewel that glitters upon it* That 
outfit I wished to leave as an inheritance to my children, 
if I should marry ; that outfit was given me by Prince 
Dominik Radziwill, 47 when once I hunted with him 
and with Prince Marshal Sanguszko and General Mejen, 48 
and when I challenged them all to course their hounds 
with me. There something unexampled in the history 
of the chase I captured six hares with a single bitch. 
We were then hunting on the meadow of Kupisko ; 
Prince Radsiwill could not keep his seat upon his horse, 
but, dismounting, embraced my famous hound Kania, 49 
and thrice kissed her on the head* And then, thrice 


patting her on the muzzle, he said, * I dub thee hence- 
forward Princess of Kupisko/ Thus does Napoleon 
give principalities to his generals, from the places at 
which they have gained great victories/' 

Telimena, wearied with the prolonged wrangling, 
wanted to go out into the fresh air, but sought a partner. 
She took a little basket from the peg. " Gentlemen, I 
see that you wish to remain within doors," she said, 
wrapping around her head a red cashmere shawl, " but 
I am going for mushrooms : follow me who will ! " 
Under one arm she took the little daughter of the Cham- 
berlain, with the other she raised her skirt up to her 
ankles. Thaddeus silently hastened after her to seek 
mushrooms ! 

The plan of a walking party was very welcome to 
the Judge, who saw in it a means of settling a noisy 
dispute ; so he called out : 

44 Gentlemen, to the woods for mushrooms ! The one 
who brings the finest to the table I will seat beside the 
prettiest girl ; I will pick her out myself. If a lady 
finds it, she shall choose for herself the handsomest 
young man." 



The Count's expedition to the garden A mysterious nymph feeding 
geese The resemblance of mushroom-gathering to the wander- 
ings of the shades in the Elysian Fields Varieties of mushrooms 
Telimena in the Temple of Meditation Consultation in regard 
to the settlement of Thaddeus The Count as a landscape painter 
Thaddeus's artistic observations on trees and clouds The 
Count's thoughts on art The bell The love note A bear, sir ! 

THE Count returned home, but he kept checking his 
horse, turning back his head, and gazing at the garden ; 
and once it seemed to him that a mysterious, snow- 
white gown again flashed from the window ; and that 
again something light fell from on high, and flitting 
across the garden in the twinkling of an eye, glittered 
among the green cucumbers, like a sunbeam that steals 
out from a cloud and falls on a slab of flint in a ploughed 
field, or on a small sheet of water in a green meadow. 

The Count dismounted and sent his servants to the 
house, but himself set out secretly for the garden ; soon 
he reached the fence, found an opening in it, and slunk 
in quietly, as a wolf into a sheepfold ; unluckily he 
jostled some dry gooseberry bushes. The little gardener 
glanced around as though frightened by the rustling, 
but perceived nothing ; however, she ran to the other 
side of the garden. But along the edge, among the great 
sorrel plants and amid the leaves of burdock, the Count, 
leaping like a frog over the grass, quietly crawled near on 
his hands and knees ; he put out his head, and beheld a 

marvellous sight* 



In that part of the garden grew scattered cherry trees ; 
among them grain and vegetables, purposely of mixed 
varieties : wheat, maize, beans, bearded barley, millet, 
peas, and even bushes and flowers. The housekeeper 
had devised such a garden for the poultry ; she was 
famous for her skill her name was Mrs. Hennibiddy, 
born Miss Turkee. Her invention made an epoch in 
poultry-raising : to-day it is universally known, but 
in those times it was still passed about as a novelty 
and received under the seal of secrecy by only a few 
persons, until at last the almanac published it under 
the heading, A cure for hawks and kites, or a new method 
of raising poultry that meant this garden patch. 

As soon as the cock that keeps watch stands still, and, 
throwing back and holding motionless his bill, and 
inclining to one side his head with its red comb, that 
he may the more easily aim at the heavens with his eye, 
perceives a hawk hanging beneath the clouds, he calls 
the alarm : at once the hens take refuge in this garden 
even the geese and peacocks, and the doves in their 
sudden fright, if they have not time to hide beneath the 

Now no enemy was to be seen in the sky, but the sum- 
mer sun was burning fiercely ; from it the birds had 
taken refuge in the grove of grain : some were lying on 
the turf, others bathing in the sand. 

Amid the birds' heads rose little human heads, 
uncovered, with short hair, white as flax, their necks 
bare to the shoulders ; in their midst was a girl, a head 
higher than they, with longer hair. Just behind the 
children sat a peacock, and spread out wide the circle 
of its tail into a many-coloured rainbow, against the 
deep blue of which the little white heads were relieved 



as on the background of a picture ; they gathered 
radiance, being surrounded by the gleaming eyes of 
the tail as by a wreath of stars, and they shone amid the 
grain as in the transparent ether, between the golden 
stalks of the maize, the English grass with its silvery 
stripes, the coral mercury, and the green mallow, the 
forms and colours of which were mingled together like 
a lattice plaited of silver and gold, and waving in the 
air like a light veil* 

Above the mass of many-coloured ears and stalks 
hung like a canopy a bright cloud of butterflies, 50 whose 
four-parted wings were light as a spider's web and 
transparent as glass ; when they hover in the air they 
are hardly visible, and, though they hum, you fancy 
that they are motionless* 

The girl waved in her uplifted hand a grey tassel, 
like a bunch of ostrich plumes, and seemed to be pro- 
tecting with it the heads of the children from the golden 
rain of the butterflies in her other hand shone some- 
thing horn-like and gilded, apparently an instrument 
for feeding children, for she approached it to each child 
in turn ; it was formed like the golden horn of 

Even though thus engaged she turned her head to- 
wards the gooseberry bushes, mindful of the rustling 
she had heard among them, and not knowing that her 
assailant had already drawn near from the opposite 
direction, crawling like a serpent over the borders. 
Suddenly he jumped out from the burdock ; she looked 
he was standing near at hand, four beds away from 
her, and was bowing low. She had already turned away 
her head and lifted her arms, and was hurrying to fly 
away like a frightened lark, and already her light steps 


were brushing over the leaves, when the children, 
frightened by the entrance of the stranger, and the 
flight of the girl, began to wail piteously. She heard 
them, and felt that it was unseemly to desert little chil- 
dren in their fright ; she went back, hesitating, but she 
must needs go back, like an unwilling spirit, summoned 
by the incantations of a diviner* She ran up to divert the 
child that was shrieking the loudest, sat down by him 
on the ground, and clasped him to her bosom ; the 
others she soothed with her hand and with tender 
words until they became calm, hugging her knees with 
their little arms and snuggling their heads, like chickens 
beneath their mother's wing, " Is it nice to cry so 4 " 
she said, " is it polite t This gentleman will be afraid 
of you ; he did not come to frighten you, he is not an 
ugly old beggar ; he is a guest, a kind gentleman, just 
see how pretty he is." 

She looked herself; the Count smiled pleasantly, 
and was evidently grateful to her for so many praises. 
She noticed this, and stopped, lowered her eyes, and 
blushed all over like a rosebud. 

He was really a handsome gentleman ; of tall stature, 
with an oval face, fair and with rosy cheeks ; he had 
mild blue eyes and long blonde hair. The leaves and 
tufts of grass in the Count's hair, which he had torn 
off in crawling over the borders, showed green like a 
disordered wreath. 

" O thou ! " he said, " by whatever name I must 
honour thee, whether thou art a goddess or a nymph, 
a spirit or a phantom, speak ! Doth thine own will call 
thee to earth, or doth another's power bind thee in 
this vale t Ah I I comprehend surely some disdained 
lover, some powerful lord or envious guardian imprisons 



thee in this castle park as if under enchantment ! Thou 
art worthy that knights should fight for thee in arms, 
and that thou shouldst be the heroine of mournful 
ballads ! Unfold to me, fair one, the secret of thy 
dreadful fate ! Thou shalt find a deliverer henceforth, 
as thou rulest my heart by thy nod, so rule my arm." 

He stretched forth his arms, She listened to him 
with a maiden's blush, but with a face once more cheer- 
fuL As a child likes to look at gay pictures and finds 
amusement in glittering counters before he learns their 
true worth, so her ears were soothed by the sounding 
words of which she did not understand the meaning. 
Finally she asked : " Where do you come from, sir, 
and what are you looking for here in the garden t " 

The Count opened his eyes, confused and amazed, 
and did not reply. Finally, lowering the tone of his 
discourse, he said : 

44 Pardon me, my little lady ; I see that I have spoiled 
your fun ! O pardon me, I was just hurrying to break- 
fast ; it is late and I wanted to get there on time. You 
know that by the road one has to make a circuit; through 
the garden it seems to me there is a short cut to the 

" There is your way, sir," said the girl ; " only you 
must not spoil the vegetable beds ; there is the path 
between the strips of grass." 

* To the left < " asked the Count, 4t or to the right i " 

The little gardener, filled with curiosity, raised her 
blue eyes and seemed to scrutinise him, for a thousand 
steps away the house was in plain sight, and the Count 
was asking the way ! But the Count needs must say 
something to her, and was seeking an excuse for con- 


" Do you live here 1 near the garden 1 or in the vil- 
lage < How happens it that I have not seen you at the 
mansion 1 Have you come recently t Perhaps you are 
a visitor t " 

The girl shook her head. 

" Pardon me, my little lady, but is not that your room, 
where we see the window t " 

44 If she is not a heroine of romance/' he was thinking 
to himself, " she is a young and fresh and very pretty 
girl. Very often a great soul, a great thought, hidden in 
solitude, blooms like the rose in the midst of the forest ; 
it will be sufficient to bring it forth to the light, and put 
it before the sun, to have it amaze by a thousand bright 
colours those who gaze upon it ! " 

The little gardener meanwhile remained silent. She 
merely lifted up one child, who was hanging on her 
arm, took another by the hand, and, driving several of 
them before her like geese, moved on through the 

44 Can you not/' she said turning around, " drive my 
stray birds back into the grain ** " 

" I drive birds ! " cried the Count in amazement. 

Meanwhile she had vanished behind the shade of the 
trees. Only for a moment there shone from behind the 
hedgerow, through the dense greenery, something like 
two blue eyes. 

The deserted Count long remained standing in the 
garden ; his soul, like the earth after sunset, gradually 
grew cool, and took on dark colours. He began to muse, 
but he had very unpleasant dreams ; he awoke, not 
knowing himself with whom he was angry. Alas, he 
had found little, and had had too great expectations ! 
For, when he was crawling over the field towards that 


shepherdess, his head had burned and his heart leapt 
high ; so many charms had he seen in the mysterious 
nymph, so wondrously had he decked her out, so many 
conjectures had he made ! He had found everything 
quite different ; to be sure, she had a pretty face, and a 
slender figure but how lacking in elegance 1 And 
that tender face and lively blush, which painted ex- 
cessive, vulgar happiness ! Evidently her mind was 
still slumbering and her heart inactive* And those 
replies, so village-like, so common ! 

" Why should I deceive myself 1 " he exclaimed ; 
" I guess the secret, too late ! My mysterious nymph 
is simply feeding geese ! " 

With the disappearance of the nymph, all the magic 
glory had suffered a change ; those bright bands, that 
charming network of gold and silver, alas ! was that 
all merely straw i 

The Count, wringing his hands, gazed on a bunch of 
cornflowers tied round with grasses, which he had 
taken for a tuft of ostrich plumes in the maiden's hand. 
He did not forget the instrument : that gilded vessel, 
that horn of Amalthea, was a carrot ! He had seen it 
being greedily consumed in the mouth of one of the 
children. So good-bye to the spell, the enchantment, 
the marvel ! 

So a boy, when he sees chickory flowers enticing the 
hand with soft, light, blue petals, wishes to stroke them 
and draws near he blows and with the puff the whole 
flower flies away like down on the wind, and in his hands 
the too curious inquirer sees only a naked stalk of grey- 
green grass. 

The Count pulled his hat over his eyes and returned 
whence he came, but shortened the way by striding 


over the vegetables, the flowers, and the gooseberry 
bushes, until, vaulting the fence, he at last breathed 
freely ! He remembered that he had spoken to the girl 
of breakfast : so perhaps everybody was already in- 
formed of his meeting with her in the garden, near the 
house ; perhaps they would send to look for him* Had 
they noticed his flight t Who knows what they would 
think t So he had to go back* Bending down near the 
fence, along the boundary strip, and through the weeds, 
after a thousand turns he was glad to come out finally 
on the highway, which led straight to the yard of the 
mansion* He walked along the fence and turned away 
his head from the garden as a thief from a corn house, 
in order to give no sign that he thought of visiting it, 
or had already done so. Thus careful was the Count, 
though no one was following him ; he looked in the 
opposite direction from the garden, to the right* 

Here was an open grove, with a floor of turf ; over this 
green carpet, among the white trunks of the birches, 
under the canopy of luxuriant drooping boughs, roamed 
a multitude of forms, whose strange dance-like motions 
and strange costumes made one think them ghosts, 
wandering by the light of the moon* Some were in tight 
black garments, others in long, flowing robes, bright as 
snow ; one wore a hat broad as a hoop, another was 
bare-headed ; some, as if they had been wrapt in a cloud, 
in walking spread out on the breeze veils that trailed 
behind their heads as the tail behind a comet. Each had 
a different posture : one had grown into the earth, and 
only turned about his downcast eyes ; another, looking 
straight before him, as if in a dream, seemed to be walk- 
ing along a line, turning neither to the right nor to the 
left. But all continually bent down to the ground in 


various directions, as if making deep bows* If they 
approached one another, or met, they did not speak or 
exchange greetings, being in deep meditation, absorbed 
in themselves. In them the Count saw an image of the 
shades in the Elysian Fields, who, not subject to disease 
or care, wander calm and quiet, but gloomy. 

Who would have guessed that these people, so far 
from lively and so silent, were our friends, the Judge's 
comrades t From the noisy breakfast they had gone 
out to the solemn ceremony of mushroom-gathering ; 
being discreet people, they knew how to moderate their 
speech and their movements, in order under all circum- 
stances to adapt them to the place and time. Therefore, 
before they followed the Judge to the wood, they had 
assumed a different bearing, and put on different attire, 
linen dusters suitable for a stroll, with which they 
covered and protected their kontuszes ; and on their 
heads they wore straw hats, so that they looked white as 
spirits in Purgatory, The young people had also changed 
their clothes, except Telimena and a few who wore 
French attire, This scene the Count had not under- 
stood, being unfamiliar with village customs; hence, 
amazed beyond measure, he ran full speed to the 

Of mushrooms 61 there were plenty: the lads gathered 
the fair -cheeked fox -mushrooms, so famous in the 
Lithuanian songs as the emblem of maidenhood, for the 
worms do not eat them, and, marvellous to say, no 
insect alights on them ; the young ladies hunted for the 
slender pine-lover, which the song calls the colonel of the 
mushrooms, 52 All were eager for the orange - agaric ; 
this, though of more modest stature and less famous in 
song, is still the most delicious, whether fresh or salted, 


whether in autumn or in winter. But the Seneschal 
gathered the toadstool fly-bane. 

The remainder of the mushroom family are despised 
because they are injurious or of poor flavour, but they are 
not useless ; they give food to beasts and shelter to 
insects, and are an ornament to the groves. On the green 
cloth of the meadows they rise up like lines of table 
dishes : here are the leaf-mushrooms with their rounded 
borders, silver, yellow, and red, like little glasses filled 
with various sorts of wine ; the kozlak t like the bulging 
bottom of an upturned cup ; the funnels, like slender 
champagne glasses; the round, white, broad, flat whities, 
like china coffee-cups filled with milk ; and the round 
puff-ball, filled with a blackish dust, like a pepper- 
shaker. The names of the others are known only in the 
language of hares or wolves ; by men they have not been 
christened, but they are innumerable. No one deigns 
to touch the wolf or hare varieties ; but whenever a 
person bends down to them, he straightway perceives his 
mistake, grows angry and breaks the mushroom or kicks 
it with his foot : in thus defiling the grass he acts with 
great indiscretion. 

Telimena gathered neither the mushrooms of wolves 
nor those of humankind ; distracted and bored, she 
gazed around with her head high in air. So the Notary 
angrily said of her that she was looking for mushrooms 
on the trees ; the Assessor more maliciously compared 
her to a female looking about for a nesting-place. 

She seemed in search of quiet and solitude ; slowly 
she withdrew from her companions and went through 
the wood to a gently sloping hillock, well shaded by the 
trees that grew thickly upon it. In the midst of it was a 
grey rock ; from under the rock a stream gurgled and 


spouted, and at once, as if it sought the shade, took 
refuge amid the tall, thick greenery, which, watered by it, 
grew luxuriantly on all sides* There that swift rogue, 
swaddled in grasses and bedded upon leaves, motionless 
and noiseless, whispered unseen and almost inaudibly, 
like a tired child laid in a cradle, when its mother ties 
above it the bright green curtains, and sprinkles poppy 
leaves beneath its head. It was a lovely and quiet spot ; 
here Telimena often took refuge, calling it the Temple 
of Meditation, 

Standing above the stream, she threw on the green- 
sward, from her shoulders, her waving shawl, red as 
carnelian ; and, like a swimmer who bends down to the 
wintry bath before she ventures to plunge in, she knelt 
and slowly inclined on her side ; finally, as if drawn 
down by the stream of coral, she fell upon it and 
stretched out at full length : she rested her elbow on the 
grass, her temple on her palm, with her head bent down ; 
beneath her head glittered the vellum paper of a French 
book ; over the alabaster pages of the book there wound 
her black ringlets and pink ribbons. 

Amid the emerald of the luxuriant grass, on the 
carnelian shawl, in her long gown, as though in a 
wrapper of coral, against which her hair was relieved at 
one end and her black shoes at the other, while along 
the sides glittered her snowy stockings, her handkerchief, 
and the whiteness of her hands and face, she showed 
from afar like a many-coloured caterpillar, crawling 
upon a green maple leaf* 

Alas ! all the charms and graces of this picture vainly 
awaited experts to appreciate them ; no one heeded 
them, so deeply were all engrossed in the gathering of 
mushrooms. But Thaddeus heeded them and kept 


glancing sideways ; and, not daring to go straight on, 
edged along obliquely. As a huntsman, when, seated 
between two wheels beneath a moving canopy of boughs, 
he advances on bustards ; or, when approaching plover, 
he hides himself behind his horse, putting his gun on the 
saddle or beneath the horse's neck, as if he were dragging 
a harrow or riding along a boundary strip, but con- 
tinually draws near to the place where the birds are 
standing : even so did Thaddeus steal forward. 

The Judge foiled his plan ; and, cutting him off, 
hurried to the spring. In the wind fluttered the white 
skirts of his dressing-gown and a large handkerchief, of 
which the end was fastened in his girdle ; his straw hat, 
tied beneath his chin, flapped in the wind from his swift 
motion like a burdock leaf, falling now on his shoulders 
and now again over his eyes ; in his hand was an immense 
staff: thus strode on the Judge. Bending down and 
washing his hands in the stream, he sat down on the 
great rock in front of Telimena, and, leaning with both 
hands on the ivory knob of his enormous cane, he thus 
began his discourse : 

14 You see, my dear, that ever since our Thaddeus has 
been our guest, I have been not a little disquieted. I am 
childless and old ; this good lad, who is really my only 
comfort in the world, is the future heir of my fortune. 
By the grace of heaven I shall leave him no bad portion 
of gentleman's bread ; it is time too that we think over 
his future and his settlement. But now, my dear, pray 
observe my distress ! You know that Jacek, my brother, 
Thaddeus 's father, is a strange man, whose intentions 
are hard to penetrate. He refuses to return home ; God 
knows where he is hiding ; he will not even let us inform 
his son that he is alive, and yet he continually gives us 


directions in regard to him* At first he wanted to send 
him to the legions ; I was fearfully distressed. Later, 
however, he agreed that he might remain at home and 
marry* He would easily find a wife ; I have a match in 
mind for him. None of our citizens compares in name 
or connections with the Chamberlain ; his elder 
daughter Anna is of marriageable age, a fair and well- 
dowered young lady. I wanted to begin negotiations/' 

At this Telimena grew pale, closed her book, rose a 
bit, and sat up. 

" As I love my mother," she said, " is there any sense 
in this, my dear brother 4 Are you a God-fearing man t 
So you think that you will really be doing a good turn to 
Thaddeus if you make a sower of buckwheat out of the 
young man ! You will close the world to him ! Believe 
me, some time he will curse you ! To think of burying 
such talent in the woods and the garden ! Believe me, 
judging from my knowledge of him, he is a capable boy, 
worthy of acquiring polish in the great world. You will 
do well, brother, if you send him to the capital, for 
instance, to Warsaw ; or, if you wish to know my real 
opinion, to St. Petersburg. I shall surely be going there 
this winter on business ; we will consider together what 
to do with Thaddeus. I know many people there and 
have influence ; that is the best means of making a 
man. Through my aid he will gain access to the leading 
houses, and when he is known to important people he 
will get an office and a decoration ; then let him abandon 
the service if he wishes and return home, being by that 
time of some importance and well known in society. 
What do you think about that, brother ^ " 

44 In his early years/' said the Judge, " it is not bad 
for a young man to gain social experience, to see the 


world, and acquire polish among men* I myself, when 
young, covered no small ground ; I have been in 
Piotrkow and in Dubno, now following the court as a 
lawyer, now attending to my own affairs ; I have even 
visited Warsaw* Not a little did I profit by this, I should 
like to send out my nephew also among men, simply 
as a traveller, as an apprentice who is finishing his term, 
in order that he might acquire some little knowledge of 
the world. Not for the sake of office-holding or decora- 
tions ! I beg your most humble pardon ; a rank in the 
Muscovite hierarchy, a decoration, what sort of dis- 
tinction are they 1 What man among our ancient 
notables nay, even among those of this present day 
what man of any prominence among the district gentry 
cares for such trifles t And yet these men are esteemed 
among us, for we respect in them their family, their good 
name, or their office but a local office, conferred by the 
votes of their fellow-citizens, and not by the influence 
of any one set in authority/' 

" If that is your opinion, brother/' interrupted 
Telimena, " so much the better ; send him out as a 

' You see, sister/' said the Judge, mournfully scratch- 
ing his head, " I should like to do so very much, but 
what if I have new perplexities I Brother Jacek has not 
abandoned the oversight of his son, and has just sent 
down upon me that Bernardine Robak, who has arrived 
from across the Vistula, a friend of my brother, who 
knows all his plans. And so the fates have already 
uttered their decree as to Thaddeus, and will have him 
marry, but marry Zosia, 53 your ward ; the young couple 
will receive, besides my own fortune, a dowry in ready 
money by the generosity of Jacek. You know that he is 


rich, and that through his favour I possess almost all my 
own estate ; thus he has the right to give directions* 
Pray think this over, in order that it may be accom- 
plished with the least possible trouble ; we must 
make them acquainted* To be sure, they are very 
young, especially little Zosia, but that is no matter ; 
it is time at last to release Zosia from confinement, for 
at all events she is growing up and is no longer a 

Telimena, amazed and almost panic-stricken, raised 
herself gradually and knelt on the shawl ; at first she 
listened with attention, then with a gesture she opposed 
him, waving her hand vigorously over her ear, as if she 
were driving off the unpleasant words like gnats, back 
into the mouth of the speaker. 

" Ha ! ha 1 that is a new idea ! Whether that is good 
or bad for Thaddeus," she said angrily, " you may judge 
for yourself, my dear sir. I don't care anything about 
Thaddeus,plan for him yourselves ; make him a steward, 
or put him in a tavern ; let him be a bar-tender, or bring 
game for your table from the woods ; do with him 
whatever you wish ! But as for Zosia ! What have you 
men to do with Zosia t I control her hand ; I alone. 
That Jacek provided money for Zosia's education, and 
that he has assigned her a small yearly allowance, and has 
deigned to promise more, does not mean that he has 
bought her. Besides you both know, and it is pretty 
generally known too, that your generosity for us is not 
without its reasons ; the Soplicas owe something to the 
family of the Horeszkos." 

To this part of her speech the Judge listened with 
indescribable confusion and grief and with evident 
repugnance. As though fearing what she might say 


further, he bowed his head, made a gesture of assent, 
and flushed deeply. 

Telimena concluded by saying : 

44 I have had the care of her ; I am of her kin, Zosia's 
only guardian. No one but me shall ever plan her happi- 
ness ! " 

44 But what if she finds happiness in this marriage t " 
said the Judge, raising his eyes ; " what if she likes 
young Thaddeus ** " 

44 What if she lik^s him i That's a pear on a willow 
tree ! Like him or not much I care for that ! To be 
sure Zosia will not be a wealthy match, but yet she 
is not a common village girl, a simple gentleman's 
daughter ; her ancestors were called, * Your Grace * ; 
she is the child of a wojewoda ; her mother was a 
Horeszko : she will get a husband ! I have taken 
such pains with her education if only she has not 
degenerated into savagery here ! " 

The Judge listened with attention, looking her in the 
eye ; he was apparently mollified, for he said cheerfully 
enough : 

44 Well, what's to be done t God knows that I have 
sincerely wished to do the right thing. Only do not 
be angry, sister ; if you do not agree, sister, you are 
quite within your rights. It is a sad business, but there 
is no use being angry. I gave the advice, for my brother 
bade me ; no one here is using compulsion* If you 
refuse Thaddeus, sister, I will reply to Jacek that through 
no fault of mine the betrothal of Thaddeus and Zosia 
cannot come to pass. Now I will take my own counsel ; 
perhaps I can open negotiations with the Chamberlain 
and arrange the whole matter." 

In the meantime Telimena's wrath had cooled down: 


" I do not refuse him, my dear brother ; not at all ! 
You said yourself that it is rather early, that they are too 
young* Let us think it over and wait ; that will do no 
harm. Let us make the young people acquainted ; we 
will observe them we must not thus expose to chance 
the happiness of others. Only I caution you betimes, 
brother, do not prompt Thaddeus, and do not urge him 
to fall in love with Zosia, for the heart is not a servant, 
and acknowledges no master, and will not let itself be 
forcibly put in chains/' 54 

Thereat the Judge, arising, walked away in deep 
thought. Thaddeus approached from the opposite side, 
pretending that the search for mushrooms had enticed 
him there ; the Count slowly moved on in the same 

During the dispute between the Judge and Telimena 
the Count had been standing behind the trees, mightily 
affected by the scene. He took from his pocket paper 
and pencil, implements that he had always with him, 
and, leaning on a stump and spreading out the sheet 
before him, he was evidently drawing a picture, and 
saying to himself : " They might have been grouped 
thus intentionally, he on the rock, she on the grass, a 
picturesque group ! What characteristic heads ! and 
what contrasting faces ! " 

He approached, checked himself, wiped his lorgnette, 
brushed his eyes with his handkerchief, and continued 
to gaze : 

44 Is this marvellous, this charming prospect destined 
to perish or to be transformed when I approach near it ^ 
Will that velvet grass prove only poppies and beets t In 
that nymph shall I discover only a mere housekeeper 1 " 

Although before this the Count had often seen 


Telimena at the Judge's house, where he had been a 
frequent visitor, he had paid little heed to her ; he was 
now amazed to find her the model of his picture* The 
beauty of the spot, the charm of her posture, and the 
taste of her attire had so changed her that she was hardly 
recognisable. Her eyes shone with her recent anger, 
which was not yet extinct ; her face, animated by the 
fresh breath of the breeze, by her dispute with the Judge, 
and by the sudden arrival of the young men, had 
assumed a deep flush, of unwonted liveliness* 

" Madam/' said the Count, " deign to pardon my 
boldness ; I come both to crave forgiveness and to 
express my gratitude* To crave forgiveness, since I have 
stealthily followed your steps ; and to express gratitude, 
since I have been the witness of your meditations* 
Much have I injured you, and much do I owe to you ! 
I have interrupted a moment of meditation ; to you I 
owe moments of inspiration ! blessed moments ! Con- 
demn the man ; but the artist awaits your forgiveness* 
Much have I dared, and more will I dare ! Judge ! " 

Here he knelt and offered her his landscape. 

Telimena passed judgment on his sketch with the tone 
of a courteous lady, but of one conversant with art ; of 
praise she was chary, but she did not spare encourage- 

" Bravo, I congratulate you," she said, " you have no 
small talent. Only do not neglect it ; above all you 
need to search out a beautiful environment ! O happy 
skies of the Italian lands ! rose gardens of the Caesars ! 
ye classic cascades of Tibur, and dread craggy paths of 
Posilipo 1 That, Count, is the land of painters ! On us 
may God have pity ! A child of the Muses, put out to 
nurse in Soplicowo, would surely die. My dear Count, 


I will have this framed, or I will put it in my album, 
in my collection of drawings, which I have gathered 
from every source : I have numbers of them in my 

So they began to converse of the blue of the skies, 
of the murmur of waves and of fragrant breezes, and of 
the summits of crags, mingling here and there, after 
the fashion of travellers, laughter and mockery at the 
land of their fathers. And yet around them stretched 
the forests of Lithuania, so majestic and so full of beauty ! 
The black currant, intertwined with a wreath of wild 
hop ; the service tree, with the fresh blush of a shep- 
herdess ; the hazel, like a maenad, with green thyrsuses, 
decked with the pearls of its nuts as with clusters of 
grapes ; and beneath them the children of the forest, 
the hawthorn in the embrace of the elder, the blackberry 
pressing its black lips upon the raspberry* The trees 
and bushes joined hands with their leaves, like young 
men and maidens standing ready for a dance around a 
married pair. In the midst of the company stood the 
pair, distinguished from all the rest of the forest throng 
by gracefulness of form and charm of colour ; the white 
birch, the beloved, with her husband the hornbeam. 
But farther off, like grave elders sitting in silence and 
gazing on their children and grandchildren, stood 
on this side hoary beeches, and on that matronly poplars ; 
and an oak, bearded with moss, and bearing on its 
humped back the weight of five centuries, supported 
itself as on the broken pillars of sepulchres on the 
petrified corpses of other oaks, its ancestors. 

Thaddeus writhed, being not a little wearied by the 
long conversation in which he could not take part. 
But when they began to glorify the forests of foreign 


lands, and to emumerate in turn every variety of their 
trees oranges, cypresses, olive trees, almonds, cac- 
tuses, aloes, mahogany, sandalwood, lemons, ivy, wal- 
nuts, even fig trees praising extravagantly their forms, 
flowers, and bark, then Thaddeus constantly sniffed 
and grimaced, and finally could no longer restrain his 

He was a simple lad, but he could feel the charm of 
nature, and, gazing on his ancestral forest, he said full 
of inspiration : 

" In the botanical garden at Wilno I have seen those 
vaunted trees that grow in the east and the south, in 
that fair Italian land which of them can be compared 
to our trees i The aloe with its long stalk like a lightning 
rod 1 Or the dwarfish lemon tree with its golden balls 
and lacquered leaves, short and dumpy, like a woman 
who is small and ugly, but rich t Or the much-praised 
cypress, long, thin, and lean, which seems the tree, 
not of grief, but of boredom i They say that it looks 
very sad upon a grave ; but it is like a German flunkey 
in court mourning, who does not dare to lift his arms 
or turn his head, for fear that he may somehow offend 
against etiquette, 

" Is not our honest birch tree fairer, which is like 
a village woman weeping for her son, or a widow for 
her husband, who wrings her hands and lets fall over 
her shoulders to the ground the stream of her loose 
tresses t Mute with grief, how eloquently she sobs 
with her form ! Count, if you are in love with painting, 
why do you not paint our own trees, among which you 
are sitting 5* Really, the neighbours will laugh at you, 
since, though you live in the fertile plain of Lithuania, 
you paint only crags and deserts." 



" Friend/' said the Count, " beautiful nature is the 
form, the ground, the material, but the soul is inspira- 
tion, which rises on the wings of imagination, is polished 
by taste, and is supported by rules. Nature is not 
enough, enthusiasm is not enough ; the artist must 
fly away into the spheres of the ideal ! Not everything 
that is beautiful can be painted ! You will learn all this 
from books in the course of time. As for painting : for 
a picture one requires viewpoints, grouping, ensemble 
and sky, the Italian sky ! Hence in landscape art Italy 
was, is, and will be the country of painters. Hence also, 
except for Breughel not Van der Helle, but the land- 
scapist, for there are two Breughels 55 and except for 
Ruysdael, in the whole north where has there been a 
landscape artist of the first rank 1 The sky, the sky is 

" Our painter Orlowski," 56 interrupted Telimena, 
" had a Soplica's taste. (You must know that this is 
the malady of the Soplicas, not to like anything except 
their own country.) Orlowski, who spent his life in St. 
Petersburg, a famous painter (I have some of his sketches 
in my desk), dwelt close by the Emperor, in his court, 
as in paradise ; and, Count, you cannot believe how 
homesick he was, he loved constantly to call to mind 
the days of his youth ; he glorified everything in Poland, 
land, sky, forests." 

" And he was right," cried Thaddeus warmly ; " that 
Italian sky of yours, so far as I have heard of it, is blue 
and clear, but yet is like frozen water : are not wind and 
storm a hundred times more beautiful t In our land, 
if you merely raise your head, how many sights meet 
your eye ! how many scenes and pictures from the very 
play of the clouds 1 For each cloud is different ; for 


instance, in spring they crawl like lazy tortoises, heavy 
with showers, and send down from the sky to the earth 
long streamers like loose tresses : those are the streams 
of rain* The hail cloud flies swiftly on the wind like 
a balloon ; it is round and dark-blue, with a glint of 
yellow in the centre ; around it may be heard a mighty 
uproar. Even these white cloudlets of every day, just 
see how rapidly they change ! At first they are like a 
flock of wild geese or swans; and from behind, the wind, 
like a falcon, drives* them into a dense throng ; they 
crowd together, grow and increase ; new marvels 1 
They gain curved necks, send forth manes, shoot out 
rows of legs, and over the vault of the skies they fly like a 
herd of chargers across the steppe. All are white as 
silver ; they have fallen into confusion ; suddenly masts 
grow from their necks, and from their manes broad 
sails ; the herd changes into a ship, and majestically 
floats slowly and quietly across the blue plain of the 
skies ! " 

The Count and Telimena looked up ; Thaddeus 
with one hand pointed out a cloud to them, while with 
the other he squeezed Telimena's dainty fingers. The 
quiet scene lasted for several minutes ; the Count 
spread a sheet of paper on his hat and took out his 
pencil ; then, unwelcome to their ears, the house bell 
resounded, and straightway the quiet wood was full of 
cries and uproar. 

The Count, nodding his head, said in an impressive 
tone : 

' Thus fate is wont to end all in this world by the 
sound of a bell. The calculations of mighty minds, the 
plans of imagination, the sports of innocence, the joys 
of friendship, the outpourings of feeling hearts ! when 


the bronse roars from afar all is confused, shattered, 
perturbed and vanishes ! " 

Then, turning a feeling glance on Telimena, he added, 
44 What remains $* " and she said to him, " Remem- 
brance " ; and, desiring somewhat to relieve the Count's 
sadness, she gave him a forget-me-not that she had 
plucked. The Count kissed it and pinned it on his 
bosom, Thaddeus on the other side separated the 
branches of a shrub, seeing that through the greenery 
something white was stealing towards him. This was 
a little hand white as a lily ; he seized it, kissed it, and 
silently buried his lips in it as a bee in the cup of a lily, 
On his lips he felt something cold ; he found a key and 
a bit of white paper curled up in the hole of it ; this was 
a little note. He seized it and hid it in his pocket ; he 
did not know what the key meant, but that little white 
note would explain. 

The bell still pealed, and, as an echo, from the depths 
of the quiet woods there resounded a thousand cries and 
shouts ; this was the uproar of people searching for one 
another and calling, the signal that the mushroom- 
gathering was over for the day : the uproar was not at 
all gloomy or funereal, as it had seemed to the Count, 
but a dinner uproar. 57 Every noon this bell, calling from 
the gable, invited the guests and servants home to 
dinner ; such had been the custom on many old estates, 
and in the Judge's house it had been preserved. So 
from the wood there came a throng carrying boxes, and 
baskets, and handkerchiefs with their ends tied up 
all full of mushrooms ; each young lady carried in one 
hand, like a folded fan, a large pine-lover ; in the other 
tree-fungi tied together in a bunch, like field flowers, 
and leaf-mushrooms of various colours. The Seneschal 


had his fly-bane. With empty hands came Telimena, 
and after her the young gentlemen. 

The guests entered in order and stood about the 
table. The Chamberlain took his place at the head ; 
this honour befitted him from his age and his office ; 
advancing to it he bowed to the ladies, the old men, 
and the young men. By him the Monk took his station, 
and next the Bernardine was the Judge. The Bernardine 
pronounced a short grace in Latin, brandy was passed 
around ; thereupon all sat down, and in silence and with 
relish they ate the cold Lithuanian salad of beet leaves. 

The dinner was more quiet than usual ; no one 
talked, despite the host's entreaties. The factions in- 
volved in the mighty strife over the dogs were thinking 
of the morrow's contest and the wager ; great thought 
is wont to constrain the lips to silence. Telimena, 
though she talked constantly with Thaddeus, was 
forced to turn now and then to the Count, and even 
now and then to glance at the Assessor ; thus a hunter 
gazes at the same time at the net into which he is coaxing 
goldfinches, and at the snare for sparrows. Thaddeus 
and the Count were both content with themselves, both 
happy, both full of hopes, and therefore not inclined 
to chatter. The Count would cast a proud look at the 
flower, and Thaddeus would stealthily gaze into his 
pocket, to see whether that little key had not run away ; 
he would even reach in his hand and finger the note 
which he had not yet read. The Judge, pouring out 
Hungarian wine and champagne for the Chamberlain, 
served him diligently, and often pressed his knees ; 
but he had no zest for conversation with him, and it 
was evident that he felt certain secret cares. 

They changed the plates and the viands in silence ; 


at last the tiresome routine of the dinner was interrupted 
by an unexpected guest. A forester, rushing in, did not 
even observe that it was dinner time, but ran up to his 
master ; from his bearing and his expression it was clear 
that he was the bringer of important and unwonted 
tidings* On him the whole company turned their gaze ; 
recovering his breath somewhat, he said : 44 A bear, 
sir ! " All guessed the rest, that the beast had come out 
from the jungle, 68 that it was slipping through to the 
wilderness beyond the Niemen ; all immediately recog- 
nised that it must be pursued at once, although they 
had not consulted together or thought the matter over. 
The common thought was evident from the clipped 
words, the lively gestures, the various orders that were 
issued, which, though they came tumultuously and at 
one time from so many lips, still all tended to a like 

44 To the village ! " shouted the Judge, " on horse- 
back, for the headman of the peasants ! To-morrow 
at daybreak let the beaters be ready, but volunteers! 
Whoever comes with a pike I will release from two days' 
work on the roads and five days' field-service for myself." 

44 Hurry," cried the Chamberlain, " saddle my grey, 
and gallop full speed to my house ; get quickly my two 
bulldogs, 59 which are famous all over the district ; the 
male is named Sprawnik, and the bitch Strapczyna. 60 
Gag them, tie them in a sack, and to save time bring 
them here on horseback." 

44 Vanka," cried the Assessor in Russian to his boy, 
44 draw my Sangussko hunting knife over the whetstone ; 
you know, the knife that the prince presented to me ; 
and look to my belt, to see whether there is a bullet in 
every cartridge." 


44 Get the guns ready ! " shouted everybody. 

The Assessor kept calling : " Lead, lead ! I have a 
bullet mould in my game bag/' 

44 Tell the parish priest/' added the Judge, " to serve 
mass early to-morrow in the forest chapel ; a very 
short offertory for hunters, the usual mass of St. Hubert/' 

After the orders had been given a silence followed. All 
were deep in thought and cast their eyes around as if 
looking for some one ; slowly the Seneschal's venerable 
face attracted and united all eyes. This was a sign that 
they were seeking a leader for their future expedition 
and that they offered the staff of office to the Seneschal. 
The Seneschal rose, understood the will of his comrades, 
and, rapping impressively on the table, he drew from 
his bosom a golden chain, on which hung a watch large 
as a pear. 

4 To-morrow," he said, 44 at half past four, the 
gentlemen hunters and the beaters will present them- 
selves at the forest chapel." 

He spoke, and moved from the table ; after him went 
the Forester. These two had to plan and arrange the 

Even so act generals, when they ordain a battle for 
the morrow the soldiers throughout the camp clean 
their arms and eat, or sleep on cloaks or saddles, free 
from care, but the generals consult within the quiet 

Dinner was interrupted, the day passed in the shoeing 
of horses, the feeding of dogs, the gathering and cleaning 
of arms ; at supper hardly any one came to the table. 
Even the faction of Bobtail ceased to be agitated by its 
long and weighty quarrel with the party of Falcon ; the 
Notary and the Assessor went arm in arm to look for 


lead. The rest, wearied with toil, went early to sleep, in 
order to rise in good season* 

[To-day Thaddeus had been given a room in an out- 
building. Going in, he closed the door and hid the candle 
in the fireplace, pretending that he had already gone to 
sleep but he did not close his eyes. He evidently 
awaited the night, and to him the time seemed long. 
He stood by the window and through the opening cut 
in the shutter observed the doings of the watchman, 
who was continually walking about the yard. When he 
saw him far away, at one bound he leapt out, closed 
the window, and bending to the ground crept along like 
a pointer. His further steps the autumn night shrouded 
in thick darkness. 81 ] 



A vision in curl papers awakes Thaddeus Belated discovery of a 
mistake The tavern The emissary The skilful use of a snuff- 
box turns discussion 'into the proper channel The jungle The 
bear Danger of Thaddeus and the Count Three shots The 
dispute of the Sagalas musket with the Sanguszko musket settled 
in favour of the single-barrelled Horeszko carbine Bigos The 
Seneschal's tale of the duel of Dowejko and Domejko, interrupted 
by hunting the hare End of the tale of Dowejko and Domejko. 

YE comrades of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, trees of 
Bialowieza, Switez, Ponary, and Kusselewo ! whose 
shade once fell upon the crowned heads of the dread 
Witenes and the great Mindowe, and of Giedymin, 
when on the height of Ponary, by the huntsmen's fire, 
he lay on a bear skin, listening to the song of the wise 
Lizdejko ; and, lulled by the sight of the Wilia and the 
murmur of the Wilejko, he dreamed of the iron wolf ; 62 
and awakened, by the clear command of the gods, he 
built the city of Wilno, which sits among the forests 
as a wolf amid bison, wild boars, and bears. From this 
city of Wilno, as from the she-wolf of Rome, went forth 
Kiejstut and Olgierd and his sons, 83 as mighty hunters 
as they were famous knights, in pursuit now of their 
enemies and now of wild beasts. A hunter's dream 
disclosed to us the secrets of the future, that Lithuania 
ever needs iron and wooded lands. 

Ye forests ! the last to come hunting among you was 



the last king who wore the cap of Witold, 64 the last 
fortunate warrior of the Jagiellos, and the last huntsman 
among the rulers of Lithuania, Trees of my Fatherland ! 
if Heaven grants that I return to behold you, old friends, 
shall I find you still t Do ye still live i Ye, among whom 
I once crept as a child does great Baublis 65 still live, 
in whose bulk, hollowed by ages, as in a goodly house, 
twelve could sup at table 4 Does the grove of Mendog 66 
still bloom by the village church t And there in the 
Ukraine, does there still rise on the banks of the Ros, 
before the mansion of the Holowinskis, that linden 
tree so far-spreading that beneath its shade a hundred 
youths and a hundred maidens were wont to join as 
partners in the dance $* 

Monuments of our fathers 1 how many of you each year 
are destroyed by the axes of the merchants, or of the 
Muscovite government ! These vandals leave no refuge 
either for the forest warblers or for the bards, to whom 
your shade was as dear as to the birds. Yet the linden 
of Czarnolas, responsive to the voice of Jan Kochanow- 
ski, inspired in him so many rimes ! 67 Yet that prattling 
oak still sings of so many marvels to the Cossack bard 1 68 

How much do I owe to you, trees of my Homeland ! 
A wretched huntsman, fleeing from the mockery of my 
comrades, in exchange for the game that I missed how 
many fancies did I capture beneath your calm, when in 
the wild thicket, forgetful of the chase, I sat me down 
amid a clump of trees! Around me here the greybearded 
moss showed silver, streaked with the blue of dark, 
crushed berries; there heathery hillocks shone red, 
decked with cowberries as with rosaries of coral. 
All about was darkness : over me the branches hung 
like low, thick, green clouds ; somewhere above the 


motionless vault the wind played with a wailing, roaring, 
howling, crashing thunder ; a strange, deafening uproar ! 
It seemed to me that there above my head rolled a 
hanging sea* 

Below, the crumbling remains of cities meet the eye* 
Here an overthrown oak protrudes from the ground, 
like an immense ruin ; on it seem to rest fragments of 
walls and columns ; on this side are branching stumps, 
on that half-rotted beams, enclosed with a hedge of 
grass. Within the barricade it is terrible to look : there 
dwell the lords of the forest, wild boars, bears, and 
wolves ; at the gate lie the half-gnawed bones of some 
unwary guests. Sometimes there rise up through the 
green of the grass, like two jets of water, a pair of stag's 
antlers ; and a beast flits between the trees like a yellow 
streak, as when a sunbeam falls between the forest trees 
and dies. 

And again there is quiet below. A woodpecker on a 
fir tree raps lightly and flies farther on and vanishes ; 
it has hidden, but does not cease to tap with its beak, 
like a child when it has hidden and wishes to be sought 
for. Nearer sits a squirrel, holding a nut in its paws 
and gnawing it ; its tail hangs over its eyes like the 
plume over a cuirassier's helmet : even though thus 
protected, it keeps glancing about ; perceiving the 
guest, this dancer of the woods skips from tree to tree 
and flashes like lightning ; finally it slips into an invisible 
opening of a stump, like a Dryad returning to her native 
tree. Again all is quiet. 

Now a branch shakes from the touch of some one's 
hand, and between the parted dusters of the service 
berries shines a face more fair than they. It is a maiden 
gathering berries or nuts ; in a basket of simple bark 


she offers you freshly gathered cowberries, rosy as her 
lips. By her side walks a youth who bends down the 
branches of the hazel tree ; the girl catches the nuts as 
they flash by her. 

Now they have heard the peal of the horns and the 
baying of the hounds ; they guess that a hunt is drawing 
near them ; and between the dense mass of boughs, 
full of alarm, they vanish suddenly from the eye, like 
deities of the forest. 

In Soplicowo there was a great commotion ; but 
neither the barking of the dogs, nor the neighing of the 
horses and the creaking of the carts, nor the blare of the 
horns that gave the signal for the hunt could stir Thad- 
deus from his bed ; falling fully dressed on his couch, he 
had slept like a marmot in its burrow. None of the 
young men thought of looking for him in the yard ; 
every one was occupied with his own affairs and was 
hurrying to his appointed place ; they entirely forgot 
their sleeping comrade. 

He was snoring. Through the heart-shaped opening 
that was cut in the shutter the sun poured into the 
darkened room like a fiery column, straight on the brow 
of the sleeping lad. He wanted to doze longer and 
twisted about, trying to avoid the light ; suddenly he 
heard a knocking and awoke ; cheerful was his awaken- 
ing. He felt blithe as a bird and breathed freely and 
lightly ; he felt himself happy and smiled to himself. 
Thinking of all that had happened to him the day before, 
he blushed and sighed, and his heart beat fast. 

He looked at the window. Marvellous to say, in the 
sunlit aperture, within that heart, there shone two 
bright eyes, opened wide, as is wont to be the case when 


one gazes from daylight into darkness ; he saw also a 
little hand, raised like a fan on the side towards the sun, 
to shield the gaze ; the tiny fingers, turned towards the 
rosy light, reddened clear through, as if made of rubies ; 
he beheld curious lips, slightly parted, and little teeth 
that shone like pearls among corals ; and the face, 
though it was protected from the sun by a rosy palm, 
itself glowed all over like the rose. 

Thaddeus was sleeping beneath the window ; himself 
hidden in the shade; lying on his back, he wondered at 
the marvellous apparition, which was directly above 
him, almost touching his face. He did not know whether 
he was awake, or whether he was imagining one of those 
dear, bright childish faces that we remember to have 
seen in the dreams of our innocent years. The little 
face bent down : he beheld, trembling with fear and 
joy, alas ! he beheld most clearly he recalled and 
recognised now that short, bright golden hair done up 
in tiny curl papers white as snow, like silvery pods, 
which in the gleam of the sun shone like a crown on the 
image of a saint. 

He started up, and the vision straightway vanished, 
frightened by the noise ; he waited, but it did not 
return ! He only heard again a thrice-repeated knocking 
and the words : " Get up, sir ; it is time for hunting, 
you have overslept/' He jumped from his couch, and 
with both hands pushed back the shutters, so that their 
hinges rattled, and flying open they knocked against the 
wall on either side. He rushed out and looked around, 
amazed and confused, but he saw nothing, nor did he 
perceive traces of any one. Not far from the window 
was the garden fence ; on it the hop leaves and the 
flowery garlands were trembling ; had some light hands 


touched them or had the wind stirred them t Thaddeus 
gazed long on them, but did not dare enter the enclosure; 
he only leaned on the fence, raised his eyes, and, with 
his finger pressed on his lips, bade himself be silent, in 
order not to break the stillness by a hasty word* Then 
he rapped his forehead, as though he were tapping for 
some ancient memories that had been lulled to sleep 
within him ; finally, gnawing his fingers, he drew blood, 
and shouted at the top of his voice : " It serves me right, 
it does/' 

In the yard, where a few moments before there had 
been so many cries, now everything was desolate and 
silent as in a graveyard ; all had gone afield. Thaddeus 
pricked up his ears, and put his hands to them like 
trumpets ; he listened till the wind that blew from the 
forest brought to him the sound of horns and the shouts 
of the hunting throng. 

Thaddeus *s horse was waiting saddled in the stable. 
So, musket in hand, he vaulted upon it, and like a mad- 
man galloped towards the inns that stood near the forest 
chapel, where the beaters were to have gathered at early 

The two taverns bent forward from either side of the 
road, threatening each other with their windows like 
enemies. The old one rightfully belonged to the owner 
of the castle ; the new one Judge Soplica had built to 
spite the castle. In the former, as in his own inheritance, 
Gerwazy ruled supreme ; in the latter Protazy occupied 
the highest place at the table. 

The new tavern was not peculiar in its appearance. 
The old one was built according to an ancient model, 
which was invented by Tyrian carpenters, and later 
spread abroad over the world by the Jews ; a style of 


architecture completely unknown to foreign builders: 
we inherit it from the Jews. 

The tavern was in front like an ark, behind like a 
temple ; the ark was Noah's genuine oblong chest, 
known to-day under the simple name of stable ; in it 
there were various beasts, horses, cows, oxen, bearded 
goats ; and above flocks of birds ; and a pair each of 
various sorts of reptiles and likewise insects. The rear 
portion, formed like a marvellous temple, reminded one 
by its appearance of that edifice of Solomon that Hiram's 
carpenters, the first skilled in the art of building, erected 
on Zion. The Jews imitate it to this day in their schools, 
and the design of the schools may be traced in their 
taverns and stables. The roof of lath and straw was 
peaked, turned-up, and crooked as a Jew's torn cap. 
From the gable protruded the edges of a balcony, sup- 
ported on a row of close-set wooden columns ; the 
columns, which were a great architectural marvel, were 
solid, though half decayed, and were put up crooked, 
as in the tower of Pisa ; they did not conform to Greek 
models, for they lacked bases and capitals. On the 
columns rested semicircular arches, also of wood, in 
imitation of Gothic art. Above were artistic ornaments, 
crooked as the arms of Sabbath candlesticks, 69 executed 
not with the graver or chisel, but with skilful blows of 
the carpenter's hatchet ; at their ends hung balls, some- 
what resembling the buttons that the Jews hang on their 
foreheads when they pray, and which, in their own 
tongue, they call cyces. In a word, from a distance the 
tottering, crooked tavern was like a Jew, when he nods 
his head in prayer ; the roof is his cap, the disordered 
thatch his beard, the smoky, dirty walls his black frock, 
and in front the carving juts out like the cyces on his brow. 


In the centre of the tavern was a partition like that in 
a Jewish school ; one portion, divided into long and 
narrow rooms, was reserved exclusively for ladies and 
gentlemen who were travelling; the other formed one 
immense halL Along each wall stretched a many-footed 
narrow, wooden table ; by it were benches, which, 
though lower, were as like the table as children are like 
their father. On these benches around the room sat 
peasants, both men and women, and likewise some of 
the minor gentry, all in rows ; only the Steward sat by 
himself. After early Mass they had come from the chapel 
to Jankiers, since it was Sunday, to have a drink and to 
amuse themselves. By each a cup of greyish brandy 
was already frothing, the hostess was running about 
with the bottle, serving every one. In the centre of the 
room stood the host, Jankiel, in a long gown that reached 
to the floor, and was fastened with silver clasps ; one 
hand he had tucked into his black silk girdle, with the 
other he stroked in dignified fashion his grey beard. 
Casting his eye about, he issued orders, greeted the 
guests who came in, went up to those that were seated, 
and started conversation, reconciled persons quarrelling, 
but served no one he only walked to and fro. The Jew 
was old, and famed everywhere for his probity ; for 
many years he had been keeping the tavern, and no one 
either of the peasants or of the gentry had ever made 
complaint against him to his landlord. Of what should 
they complain t He had good drinks to choose from ; he 
kept his accounts strictly, but without any knavery ; 
he did not forbid merriment, but would not endure 
drunkenness. He was a great lover of entertainments ; 
at his tavern marriages and christenings were celebrated ; 
every Sunday he had musicians come from the village, 
including a bass viol and bagpipes. 


He was familiar with music and was himself famous 
for his musical talent ; with the dulcimer, his national 
instrument, he had once wandered from estate to estate 
and amazed his hearers by his playing and his songs, for 
he sang well and with a trained voice. Though a Jew, he 
had a fairly good Polish pronunciation, and was particu- 
larly fond of the national songs, of which he had brought 
back a multitude from each trip over the Niemen, 
kolomyjkas 70 from Halics and mazurkas from Warsaw* 
A report, I do not know how well founded, was current 
throughout the district, that he was the first to bring 
from abroad and make popular in that time and place 
the song which is to-day famous all over the world, and 
which was first played in the Ausonian land to Italians 
by the trumpets of the Polish legions. 71 The talent of 
song pays well in Lithuania ; it gains people's affection 
and makes one famous and rich. Jankiel had made a 
fortune ; sated with gain and glory, he had hung his 
nine-stringed dulcimer upon the wall, and settling down 
with his children in the tavern he had taken up liquor- 
selling. Besides this he was the under-rabbi in the 
neighbouring town, and always a welcome guest in every 
quarter, and a household counsellor : he had a good 
knowledge of the grain trade on the river barges ; 72 such 
knowledge is needful in a village. He had also the 
reputation of being a patriotic Pole. 73 

He was the first to bring to an end the quarrels 
between the two taverns, which had often led even to 
bloodshed, by leasing them both. He was equally 
respected by the old partisans of the Horesskos and by 
the servants of Judge Soplica. He alone knew how to 
keep an ascendancy over the terrible Warden of the 
Hores^kos and the quarrelsome Apparitor ; in Jankiel's 


presence both Gerwazy terrible of hand and Protazy 
terrible of tongue stifled their ancient wrongs* 

Gerwazy was not there ; he had gone to join the 
beaters, not wishing that the Count, young and inex- 
perienced, should undertake alone so important and 
difficult an expedition* So he had gone with him for 
counsel, and likewise for defence* 

To-day Gerwazy's place, the farthest from the 
threshold, between two benches, in the very corner of 
the tavern (called 74 ), was occupied by the Monk, 
Father Robak, the alms-gatherer* Jankiel had seated him 
there ; he evidently highly respected the Bernardine, 
for whenever he noticed that his glass was empty he 
immediately ran up and told them to pour out for him 
July mead* 75 They said that the Bernardine and he had 
been acquainted when young, somewhere off in foreign 
lands* Robak often came by night to the tavern, and 
consulted secretly with the Jew about important matters ; 
they said that the Monk was smuggling goods, but this 
was a slander unworthy of belief* 

Leaning on the table, Robak was discoursing in a low 
voice ; a throng of gentry surrounded him and pricked 
up their ears, and bent down their noses to the Monk's 
snuffbox* Each took a pinch, and the gentlemen sneezed 
like mortars* 

" Reverendissime," said Skoluba with a sneeze, 
44 that is fine tobacco, it goes way up to your topknot* 
Never since I have worn a nose " here he stroked his 
long nose " have I met its like " here he sneezed a 
second time* " It is real Bernardine, doubtless made in 
Kowno, a city famous throughout the world for tobacco 
and mead, I was there in " 

44 To the health of you all, my noble gentlemen ! " 


Robak interrupted him. " As for the tobacco hm 
it comes from farther off than my friend Skoluba thinks ; 
it comes from Jasna Gora, the Bright Mountain ; the 
Paulist Brethren prepare such tobacco in the city of 
Csenstochowa, 76 where stands the image, famed for so 
many miracles, of Our Lady the Virgin, Queen of the 
Crown of Poland : she is likewise still called Duchess of 
Lithuania ! She still watches over her royal crown, 
but in the Duchy of Lithuania the schism 77 is now 
established ! " 

44 From CsenstochowaS' " said Wilbik* " I confessed 
myself there when I went on a pilgrimage thirty years 
ago* Is it true that the French are now visiting the 
city, and that they are going to tear down the church 
and seize the treasury for this is all printed in the 
Lithuanian Courier? " 

44 No, it is not true," said the Bernardine. " His 
Majesty the Emperor Napoleon is a most exemplary 
Catholic ; the Pope himself anointed him, and they 
live in harmony, and spread the faith among the French 
people, which has become a trifle corrupted* To be 
sure they have contributed much silver from Csensto- 
chowa to the national treasury, for the Fatherland, for 
Poland, as the Lord God himself bids ; his altars are 
always the treasury of the Fatherland* Why, in the 
Duchy of Warsaw we have a Polish army of a hundred 
thousand, perhaps soon there will be more* And who 
will pay that army 1 Will it be you Lithuanians < You 
are now giving your pennies only for the Muscovite 

44 The devil we are ! " cried Wilbik ; 44 they take 
them from us by force*" 

44 O, my dear sir," a peasant spoke up humbly, bowing 


to the Monk and scratching his head, " for the gentry 
it is only half bad, but they skin us like linden bark/' 

" You stupid son of Ham ! " 78 cried Skoluba, " it 
is easier for you ; you peasants are as used to skinning 
as eels ; but for us men of birth, us gentlemen accus- 
tomed to golden liberty ! Ah, brothers ! Why, in old 
times a gentleman on his garden patch " 

44 Yes, yes," they all cried, " was a wojewoda's 
match/' 79 

44 To-day they even deny our gentle birth ; they bid 
us hunt up papers and prove it by documents/' 

4 That's nothing for such as you ! " shouted Juraha* 
44 Your precious ancestors were peasants who obtained 
nobility, but I am of princes' blood 1 To ask me for a 
patent, showing when I became a nobleman ! Only 
God remembers that ! Let the Muscovite go to the 
forest and ask the oak grove who gave it a patent to 
grow above all the shrubs ! " 

44 Prince ! " said ZagieL " Go tell that to some one 
else ! You will find no end of princes' coronets in this 

" You have a cross in your coat of arms," shouted 
Podhajski ; " that is a covert allusion to the fact that 
a baptised Jew was a member of your line/' 

44 That is false ! " interrupted Birbarz ; " now I 
spring from the blood of Tatar counts, and yet my coat 
bears crosses above a ship/' 

44 The white rose of five petals," cried Mickiewics, 
44 with a cap in a golden field : it is a princely coat; 
Stryjkowski writes frequently of it/' 80 

After this a mighty hubbub arose all over the room* 
The Bernardine had recourse to his snuffbox; he offered 
a pinch to each of the orators in turn, and the wrangling 


immediately subsided : each accepted for courtesy's 
sake, and sneezed several times. The Bernardine, taking 
advantage of the intermission, continued : 

44 Ah ! this tobacco has made great men sneeze ! 
Will you believe me that four times General Dom- 
browski has taken a pinch from this snuffbox t " 

44 Dombrowski ! " they shouted. 

44 Yes, yes, he, the general. I was in the camp when 
he was recapturing Dantzic from the Germans. 81 He 
had something to write ; and, fearing that he might 
go to sleep, he took a pinch, sneezed, and twice patted 
me on the back. ' Father Robak/ he said, 4 Father 
Bernardine, perhaps we shall see each other in Lithuania 
before the year is over. Tell the Lithuanians to receive 
me with Czenstochowa tobacco ; I take none but that/ ' 

The Monk's speech aroused such amazement and 
such joy that the whole noisy assembly was silent for a 
moment ; then they repeated under their breath the 
words, " Tobacco from Poland 4 Czenstochowa ^ Dom- 
browski 4 from the Italian land t " until finally all 
at once, as if thought had fused with thought and word 
with word, all cried with one voice, as if a signal had 
been given : " Dombrowski ! " All shouted together, 
all embraced one another ; the peasant and the Tatar 
count, the prince's hat and the cross, the white rose, the 
griffin, and the ship ; they forgot everything, even the 
Bernardine ; they only sang and shouted : " Brandy, 
mead, wine ! " 

Father Robak listened to the song for a long time ; 
finally he wanted to cut it short. So he took in both 
hands his snuffbox, broke up the melody with a sneeze ; 
and, before they got together again, he hastened to 
speak thus : 


44 You praise my tobacco, my good friends ; now see 
what is going on inside the snuffbox/' 

Here, wiping with his handkerchief the soiled base of 
the box, he showed them a little painted army, like a 
swarm of flies : in the middle sat a man on a charger, 
the size of a beetle, evidently the leader of the troop ; 
he had made his horse rear, as though he wanted to leap 
into the skies ; one hand he held on the bridle, the 
other up to his nose* 

44 Gaze," said Robak, " at that threatening form, and 
guess whose it is/' 

All looked with curiosity. 

41 That is a great man, an emperor, but not of the 
Muscovites ; their tsars have never used tobacco/' 

44 A great man," cried Cydzik, 4 * and in a long grey 
coat t I thought that great men wore gold, for among 
the Muscovites any sort of a general, sir, fairly shines 
with gold, like a pike in saffron/' 

44 Bah I " interrupted Rymsza ; " why, in my youth 
I saw Kosciuszko, the chief of our nation : he was a 
great man, but he wore a Cracow peasant's coat, that 
is to say, a czamara" 

44 Much he wore a czamara ! " retorted Wilbik* 
44 They used to call it a taratatka" 82 

44 But the taratatka has fringe," shouted Mickiewicz, 
44 and the other is entirely plain/' 

Thereupon there arose disputes over the various 
forms of the taratatka and the czamara. 

The ingenious Robak, seeing that the conversation 
was thus becoming scattered, undertook again to gather 
it to a focus to his snuffbox : he treated them, they 
sneezed and wished one another good health ; he con- 
tinued his speech : 


44 When the Emperor Napoleon in an engagement 
takes snuff time after time, it is a sure sign that he is 
winning the battle. For example, at Austerlitz : the 
French just stood beside their cannon, and on them 
charged a host of Muscovites. The Emperor gazed 
and held his peace ; whenever the French shot, the 
Muscovites were simply mowed down by regiments 
like grass. Regiment after regiment galloped on and 
fell from the saddle ; whenever a regiment fell, the 
Emperor took a pinch of snuff, until finally Alexander 
with his little brother Constantine and the German 
Emperor Francis fled from the field. So the Emperor, 
seeing that the fight was over, gazed at them, laughed, 
and dusted his fingers. And now if any of you gentle- 
men who are present here ever serves in the army of 
the Emperor, let him remember this." 

" Ah ! my dear Monk ! " cried Skoluba, " when will 
that be t Why, on every holiday set down in the calendar 
they prophesy to us that the French are coming. A 
man looks and looks until his eyes are weary, but the 
Muscovite keeps on holding us by the neck as he always 
has. I fear that before the sun rises the dew will ruin 
our eyes." 

44 Sir, it is womanish to complain," said the Bernardine, 
44 and a Jewish trick to wait with folded hands until 
some one rides up to the tavern and knocks on the door. 
With Napoleon it is not so hard to beat the Muscovites ; 
he has already three times thrashed the hide of the 
Suabians, he has trodden down the nasty Prussians, 
and has cast back the English straight across the sea : 
surely he will be equal to the Muscovites. But, my 
dear sir, do you know what will be the result t The 
gentry of Lithuania will mount their steeds and seize 


their sabres, but not until there is no longer any enemy 
with whom to fight. Napoleon, after crushing every- 
body alone, will finally say : 'I can get along without 
you : who are you t* So it is not enough to await a 
guest, not enough even to invite him in ; one needs to 
gather the servants and set up the tables ; and before 
the banquet one must clean the house of dirt ; clean 
the house, I repeat ; clean the house, my boys ! " 

A silence followed, and then voices in the throng : 

44 How clean our house t What do you mean by that f 
We will do everything for you, we are ready for any- 
thing; only, my dear Father, pray explain yourself 
more clearly/* 

The Monk glanced out of the window, interrupting 
the conversation ; he noticed something peculiar, and 
put his head out of the window* In a moment he said, 
rising : 

* To-day we have no time, later we will talk together 
more at length. To-morrow I shall be in the district 
town on business, and on the way I will call on you 
gentlemen to gather alms." 

4 Then call at Niehrymow to spend the night," said 
the Steward ; " the Ensign will be glad to see you, sir. 
An old Lithuanian proverb says : * As lucky a man as 
an alms-gatherer in Niehrymow/ ' 

44 And be good enough to visit us," said Zubkowski. 
' You will get a half-piece of linen, a firkin of butter, 
a sheep or a cow. Remember these words, sir : * A man 
is lucky if he strikes it as rich as a monk in Zubkow/ ' 

" And on us," said Skoluba ; " and on us," added 
Terajewicz ; " no Bernardine ever departed hungry 
from Pucewicse." 

Thus all the gentry said good-bye to the Monk with 


prayers and promises ; he was already the other side 
of the door* 

Through the window he had caught sight of Thaddeus 
flying along the highway, at full gallop, without his 
hat, with head bent forward, and with a pale, gloomy 
face, continually whipping and spurring on his horse. 
This sight greatly disturbed the Bernardine ; so he 
hastened with quick steps after the young man, towards 
the great forest, which, as far as the eye could reach, 
showed black along the entire horizon. 

Who has explored the deep abysses of the Lithuanian 
forests up to the very centre, the kernel of the thicket t 
A fisherman is scarcely acquainted with the bottom of 
the sea close to the shore ; a huntsman skirts around the 
bed of the Lithuanian forests ; he knows them barely 
on the surface, their form and face, but the inner 
secrets of their heart are a mystery to him ; only 
rumour or fable knows what goes on within them. For, 
when you have passed the woods and the dense, tangled 
thickets, in the depths you come upon a great rampart 
of stumps, logs, and roots, defended by a quagmire, 
a thousand streams, and a net of overgrown weeds 
and ant-hills, nests of wasps and hornets, and coils of 
serpents. If by some superhuman valour you surmount 
even these barriers, farther on you will meet with still 
greater danger. At each step there lie in wait for you, 
like the dens of wolves, little lakes, half overgrown with 
grass, so deep that men cannot find their bottom ; in 
them it is very probable that devils dwell. The water 
of these wells is iridescent, spotted with a bloody rust, 
and from within continually rises a steam that breathes 
forth a nasty odour, from which the trees around lose 


their bark and leaves ; bald, dwarfed, wormlike, and 
sick, hanging their branches knotted together with 
moss, and with humped trunks bearded with filthy 
fungi, they sit around the water, like a group of witches 
warming themselves around a kettle in which they are 
boiling a corpse. 

Beyond these pools it is vain to try to penetrate even 
with the eye, to say nothing of one's steps, for there all 
is covered with a misty cloud that rises incessantly 
from quivering morasses* But finally behind this mist 
(so runs the common rumour) extends a very fair and 
fertile region, the main capital of the kingdom of beasts 
and plants. In it are gathered the seeds of all trees and 
herbs, from which their varieties spread abroad through- 
out the world ; in it, as in Noah's ark, of all the kinds 
of beasts there is preserved at least one pair for breeding. 
In the very centre, we are told, the ancient buffalo 
and the bison and the bear, the emperors of the forest, 
hold their court. Around them, on trees, nest the swift 
lynx and the greedy wolverene, as watchful ministers ; 
but farther on, as subordinate, noble vassals, dwell 
wild boars, wolves, and horned elks. Above their heads 
are the falcons and wild eagles, who live from the lords' 
tables, as court parasites. These chief and patriarchal 
pairs of beasts, hidden in the kernel of the forest, 
invisible to the world, send their children beyond the 
confines of the wood as colonists, but themselves in 
their capital enjoy repose ; they never perish by cut or 
by shot, but when old die by a natural death. They have 
likewise their graveyard, where, when near to death, 
the birds lay their feathers and the quadrupeds their 
fur. The bear, when with his blunted teeth he cannot 
chew his food ; the decrepit stag, when he can scarcely 


move his legs ; the venerable hare, when his blood 
already thickens in his veins ; the raven, when he grows 
grey, and the falcon, when he grows blind ; the eagle, 
when his old beak is bent into such a bow that it is shut 
for ever and provides no nourishment for his throat ; 83 
all go to the graveyard* Even a lesser beast, when 
wounded or sick, runs to die in the land of its fathers. 
Hence in the accessible places, to which man resorts, 
there are never found the bones of dead animals. 84 
It is said that there in the capital the beasts lead a well- 
ordered life, for they govern themselves ; not yet 
corrupted by human civilisation, they know no rights 
of property, which embroil our world ; they know 
neither duels nor the art of war. As their fathers lived 
in paradise, so their descendants live to-day, wild and 
tame alike, in love arid harmony ; never does one bite 
or butt another. Even if a man should enter there, 
though unarmed, he would pass in peace through the 
midst of the beasts ; they would gaze on him with the 
same look of amazement with which on that last, sixth 
day of creation their first fathers, who dwelt in the 
Garden of Eden, gazed upon Adam, before they quar- 
relled with him. Happily no man wanders into this 
enclosure, for Toil and Terror and Death forbid him 

Only sometimes hounds, furious in pursuit, entering 
incautiously among these mossy swamps and pits, 
overwhelmed by the sight of the horrors within them, 
flee away, whining, with looks of terror ; and long after, 
though petted by their master's hand, they still tremble 
at his feet, possessed by fright. These ancient hidden 
places of the forests, unknown to men, are called in 
hunter's language jungles. 


Stupid bear ! If thou hadst abode in the jungle, 
never would the Seneschal have learned of thee ; but, 
whether the fragrance of the honeycomb lured thee, 
or thou feltest too great a longing for ripe oats, thou 
earnest out to the edge of the forest, where the trees 
were less dense, and there at once the forester detected 
thy presence, and at once sent forth beaters, clever 
spies, to learn where thou wast feeding and where thou 
hadst thy lair by night. Now the Seneschal with his 
beaters, extending his lines between thee and the jungle, 
cuts off thy retreat* 

Thaddeus learned that no short time had already 
passed since the hounds had entered into the abyss 
of the forest. 

All is quiet in vain the hunters strain their ears ; 
in vain, as to the most curious discourse, each hearkens 
to the silence, and waits long in his position without 
moving ; only the music of the forest plays to them from 
afar. The dogs dive through the forest as loons beneath 
the sea ; but the sportsmen, turning their double- 
barrelled muskets towards the wood, gaze on the 
Seneschal. He kneels, and questions the earth with his 
ear. As in the face of a physician the eyes of friends 
read the sentence of life or death for one who is dear 
to them, so the sportsmen, confident in the Seneschal's 
skill and training, fix upon him glances of hope and 
terror. " They are on the track ! " he said in a low voice, 
and rose to his feet. He had heard it ! They were still 
listening finally they too hear ; one dog yelps, then 
two, twenty, all the hounds at once in a scattered pack 
catch the scent and whine ; they have struck the trail 
and howl and bay. This is not the slow baying of dogs 
that chase a hare, a fox, or a deer, but a constant, sharp 


yelp, quick, broken, and furious. So the hounds have 
struck no distant trail, the beast is before their eyes 
suddenly the cry of the pursuit stops, they have reached 
the beast again there is yelping and snarling the 
beast is defending himself, and is undoubtedly maiming 
some of them ; amid the baying of the hounds one hears 
more and more often the howl of a dying dog* 

The hunters stood still, and each of them, with his 
gun ready, bent forward like a bow with his head thrust 
into the forest ; they could wait no longer ! Already 
one after another left his station and crowded into the 
thicket ; each wished to be the first to meet the beast ; 
though the Seneschal kept cautioning them, though the 
Seneschal rode to each station on his horse, crying 
that whoever should leave his place, be he simple 
peasant or gentleman's son, should get the lash upon 
his back. There was-no help for it 1 All, against orders, 
ran into the wood : three guns sounded at once, then a 
continual cannonade, until, louder than the reports, 
the bear roared and filled with echoes all the forest. A 
dreadful roar, of pain, fury, and despair ! After it the 
yelping of the dogs, the cries of the sportsmen, the horns 
of the beaters thundered from the centre of the thicket. 
Some hunters hasten into the forest, others cock their 
guns, and all rejoice. Only the Seneschal in grief cries 
that they have missed him. The sportsmen and the 
beaters had all gone to the same side, between the toils 
and the forest, to cut off the beast; but the bear, 
frightened by the throng of dogs and men, turned back 
into places less carefully guarded, towards the fields, 
whence the sportsmen set to guard them had departed, 
where of the many ranks of hunters there remained only 
the Seneschal, Thaddeus, the Count, and a few beaters. 


Here the wood was thinner ; from within could be 
heard a roaring, and the crackling of breaking boughs, 
until finally the bear darted from the dense forest like 
a thunderbolt from the clouds. From all sides the dogs 
were chasing him, terrifying him, tearing him, until 
at last he rose on his hind legs and looked around, 
frightening his enemies with a roar ; with his fore paws 
he tore up now the roots of a tree, now charred stumps, 
now stones that had grown into the earth, hurling them 
at dogs and men ; finally he broke down a tree, and 
brandishing it like a club to the right and the left, he 
rushed straight at the last guardians of the line of beaters, 
at the Count and Thaddeus, They stood their ground 
unafraid, and levelled the barrels of their muskets at 
the beast, like two lightning-rods at the bosom of a dark 
cloud ; then both at once pulled their triggers (inexperi- 
enced lads !) and the guns thundered together : they 
missed. The bear leapt towards them ; they seized 
with four hands a pike that had been stuck in the earth, 
and each pulled it towards him ; they gazed at the bear 
till two rows of tusks glittered from a great red mouth, 
and a paw armed with claws was already descending 
on their brows. They turned pale, jumped back, and 
slipped away to where the trees were less dense. The 
beast reared up behind them, already he was making 
a slash with his claws ; but he missed, ran on, reared 
up again aloft, and with his black paw aimed at the 
Count's yellow hair. He would have torn his skull from 
his brains as a hat from the head, but just then the 
Assessor and the Notary jumped out from either side, 
and Gerwazy came running up some hundred paces 
away in front, and after him Robak, though without a 
gun and the three shot together at the same instant, 


as though at a word of command. The bear leapt into 
the air, like a hare before the hounds, came down upon 
his head, and turning a somersault with his four paws, 
and throwing the bloody weight of his huge body right 
under the Count, hurled him from his feet to the earth ; 
he still roared, and tried to rise, when the furious 
Strapczyna and the ferocious Sprawnik descended on 

Then the Seneschal seized his buffalo horn, which 
hung by a strap, long, spotted, and crooked as a boa 
constrictor, and with* both hands pressed it to his lips. 
He blew up his cheeks like a balloon, his eyes became 
bloodshot, he half-lowered his eyelids, drew his belly 
into half its size, sending thence into his lungs his 
entire supply of breath, and began to play. The horn, 
like a cyclone with a whirling breath, bore the music 
into the forest and an echo repeated it. The sportsmen 
became silent, the hunters were amazed by the power, 
purity, and marvellous harmony of the notes. The 
old man was once more exhibiting before an audience of 
huntsmen all that art for which he had once been famous 
in the forests ; straightway he filled and made alive 
the woods and groves as though he had led into them 
a whole kennel and had begun the hunt. For in the 
playing there was a short history of the hunt. First 
there was a ringing, brisk summons that was the 
morning call ; then yelp upon yelp whined forth that 
was the baying of the dogs ; and here and there was a 
harsher tone like thunder that was the shooting. 

Here he broke off, but he still held the horn. It 
seemed to all that the Seneschal was still playing on, 
but that was the echo playing. 

He began once more. You might think that the horn 


was changing its form, and that in the Seneschal's lips 
it grew now thicker and now thinner, imitating the cries 
of animals ; once, prolonging itself into a wolf's neck, 
it howled long and piercingly ; again, as if broadening 
into a bear's throat, it roared ; then the bellowing of a 
bison cut the wind* 

Here he broke off, but he still held the horn* It 
seemed to all that the Seneschal was still playing on, 
but that was the echo playing. Hearing this master- 
piece of horn music, the oaks repeated it to the oaks 
and the beeches to the beeches. 

He blew again. In the horn there seemed to be a 
hundred horns ; one could hear mingled outcries of 
setting on the dogs, wrath and terror of the hunters, 
the pack, and the beasts : finally the Seneschal raised 
his horn aloft, and a hymn of triumph smote the 

Here he broke off, but he still held the horn. It 
seemed to all that the Seneschal was still playing on, but 
that was the echo playing. In the wood there seemed 
to be a horn for every tree ; one repeated the song to 
another, as though it spread from choir to choir. And 
the music went on, ever broader, ever farther, ever 
more gentle, and ever more pure and perfect, until 
it died away somewhere far off, somewhere on the 
threshold of the heavens ! 

The Seneschal, taking both hands from the horn, 
spread them out like a cross ; the horn fell, and swung 
on his leather belt. The Seneschal, his face swollen and 
shining, and his eyes uplifted, stood as if inspired, 
catching with his ear the last expiring tones. But 
meanwhile thousands of plaudits thundered forth, 
thousands of congratulations and shouts of vivat. 


They gradually became quiet, and the eyes of the 
throng were turned on the huge, fresh corpse of the 
bear* He lay besprinkled with blood and pierced with 
bullets ; his breast was plunged into the thick, matted 
grass ; his paws were spread out before him like a 
cross ; he still breathed, but he poured forth a stream 
of blood through his nostrils ; his eyes were still open, 
but he did not move his head. The Chamberlain's bull- 
dogs held him beneath the ears ; on the left side hung 
Strapczyna ; on the right Sprawnik, choking his throat, 
sucked out the black* blood. 

Thereupon the Seneschal bade place an iron bar 
between the teeth of the dogs, and thus open their jaws. 
With the butts of their guns they turned the remains 
of the beast on its back, and again a triple vivat smote 
the clouds. 

44 Well 4 " cried the Assessor, flourishing the barrel 
of his musket ; 44 well t how about my little gun i 
It aims high, does it ! Well t how about my little gun t 
It is not a large birdie, 85 but what a showing it made ! 
That is no new thing for it either ; it never wastes a 
charge upon the air. It was a present to me from Prince 

Here he showed a musket which, though small, was 
of marvellous workmanship, and began to enumerate 
its virtues. 

14 I was running/' interrupted the Notary, wiping the 
sweat from his brow, 44 1 was running right after the bear ; 
but the Seneschal called out, 4 Stay in your places ! ' 
How could I stay there ; the bear was making full speed 
for the fields, like a hare, farther and farther ; finally 
I lost my breath and had no hope of catching up ; then 
I looked to the right : he was standing right there, and 


the trees were not dense. When I aimed at him, I 
thought, ' Hold on, Bruin!' and sure enough, there he 
h'es dead* It's a fine gun, a real Sagalas ; there is 
the inscription, Sagalas, London d Balabanowka." (A 
famous Polish smith lived there, who made Polish 
guns, but decorated them in English fashion.) 

" How's that t " snorted the Assessor, " in the name 
of a thousand bears I The idea of your killing it ! What 
rubbish are you talking t " 

44 Listen," replied the Notary, " this is no court 
investigation ; this is a hunting party ; we will summon 
all as witnesses." 

So a furious brawl arose in the company, some taking 
the side of the Assessor and some that of the Notary. 
No one remembered about Gerwasy, for all had run in 
from the sides, and had not noticed what was going on 
in front. The Seneschal took the floor : 

44 Now at all events there is some reason for a quarrel, 
for this, gentlemen, is no worthless rabbit ; this is a bear : 
here one need have no compunctions about seeking 
satisfaction, whether it be with the sabre or even with 
pistols. It is hard to reconcile your dispute, so according 
to the ancient custom we give you our permission for a 
duel. I remember that in my time there lived two 
neighbours, both worthy gentlemen, and of long descent ; 
they dwelt on opposite sides of the river Wilejka ; one 
was named Domejko and the other Dowejko. 86 They 
both shot at the same time at a she-bear ; which 
killed it it was hard to ascertain, and they had a terrible 
quarrel, and swore to shoot at each other over the hide 
of the bear : that was in true gentleman's style, almost 
barrel to barrel. This duel made a great stir, and in 
those days they sang songs about it. I was their second ; 


how everything came to pass I will tell you the whole 
story from the beginning/' 

Before the Seneschal began to speak, Gerwazy had 
settled the dispute* He walked attentively around the 
bear ; finally he drew his hanger, cut the snout in two, 
and in the rear of the head, opening the layers of the 
brain, he found the bullet. He took it out, wiped it on 
his coat, measured it with a cartridge, applied it to the 
barrel of his flintlock, and then said, raising his palm 
with the bullet resting upon it : 

" Gentlemen, this bullet is not from either of your 
weapons ; it came from this single-barrelled Horeszko 
carbine/' (Here he raised an old flintlock, tied up with 
strings.) " But I did not shoot it. O, how much daring 
was needed then ! it is terrible to remember it ; my 
eyes grew dark ! For both the young gentlemen were 
running straight towards me, and behind them was the 
bear just, just above the head of the Count, the last of 
the Horeszkos, though in the female line ! * Jesus Maria T 
I exclaimed, and the angels of the Lord sent to my aid 
the Bernardine Monk. He put us all to shame ; O, he 
is a glorious monk ! While I trembled, while I dared 
not touch the trigger, he snatched the musket from my 
hands, aimed, and fired. To shoot between two heads 1 
at a hundred paces ! and not to miss ! and in the very 
centre of his jaw ! to knock out his teeth so 1 Gentlemen, 
long have I lived, and but one man have I seen who 
could boast himself such a marksman : that man once 
famous among us for so many duels, who used to shoot 
out the heels from under women's shoes, that scoundrel 
of scoundrels, renowned in memorable times, that 
Jacek, commonly called Mustachio ; his surname I will 
not mention. But now it is no time for him to be hunt- 


ing bears ; that ruffian is certainly buried in Hell up to 
his very mustaches. Glory to the Monk, he has saved 
the lives of two men, and perhaps of three. Gerwazy 
will not boast, but if the last child of the Horeszkos' 
blood had fallen into the jaws of the beast, I should no 
longer be in this world, and perhaps the bear would 
have gnawed clean my old bones. Come, Father Monk, 
let us drink your good health ! " 

In vain they searched for the Monk: all that they 
could discover was that after the killing of the beast he 
had appeared for a moment, had leapt towards the Count 
and Thaddeus, and, seeing that both were safe and sound, 
had raised his eyes to Heaven, quietly repeated a prayer, 
and had run quickly into the field, as though some one 
were chasing him. 

Meanwhile at the Seneschal's bidding they had 
thrown into a heap bundles of heather, dry brushwood, 
and logs ; the fire burst forth, and a grey pine tree of 
smoke grew up and spread out aloft like a canopy. Over 
the flame they joined pikes into a tripod ; on the spears 
they hung big-bellied kettles ; from the waggons they 
brought vegetables, meal, roast meats, and bread. 

The Judge opened a locked liquor case, in which 
there could be seen rows of white necks of bottles ; from 
among them he took the largest crystal decanter this 
the Judge had received as a gift from the Monk, Robak. 
It was Dantzic brandy, a drink dear to a Pole. " Long 
live Dantzic ! ' * cried the Judge, raising the flask on high; 
" the city once was ours, and it will be ours again 1 " 
And he filled each glass with the silvery liquor, until at 
last it began to drip golden and glitter in the sun. 87 

In the kettles they were cooking bigos. 68 In words it 
is hard to express the wonderful taste and colour of 


bigos and its marvellous odour ; in a description of it one 
hears only the clinking words and the regular rimes, 
but no city stomach can understand their content. In 
order to appreciate Lithuanian songs and dishes, one 
must have health, must live in the country, and must be 
returning from a hunting party* 

However, even without these sauces, bigos is no 
ordinary dish, for it is artistically composed of good 
vegetables. The foundation of it is sliced, sour cabbage, 
which, as the saying is, goes into the mouth of itself ; 
this, enclosed in a kettle, covers with its moist bosom 
the best parts of selected meat, and is parboiled, until the 
fire extracts from it all the living juices, and until the 
fluid boils over the edge of the pot, and the very air 
around is fragrant with the aroma* 

The bigos was soon ready. The huntsmen with a 
thrice-repeated vivat, armed with spoons, ran up and 
assailed the kettle ; the copper rang, the vapour burst 
forth, the bigos evaporated like camphor, it vanished 
and flew away ; only in the jaws of the caldrons the 
steam still seethed, as in the craters of extinct volcanoes. 

When they had eaten and drunk their fill, they put the 
beast on a waggon, and themselves mounted their steeds. 
All were gay and talkative, except the Assessor and the 
Notary, who were more testy than the day before, 
quarrelling over the merits of that Sanguszko gun and 
that Sagalas musket from Balabanowka. The Count 
and Thaddeus also rode on in no merry mood, being 
ashamed that they had missed and had retreated ; for in 
Lithuania whoever lets a bear get through the circle of 
beaters must toil long before he repairs his fame. 

The Count said that he had reached the pike first, and 
that Thaddeus had hindered him from encountering 


the beast ; Thaddeus maintained that, being the 
stronger, and the more skilful in work with a heavy pike, 
he had wished to relieve the Count of the trouble* Such 
nipping words they said to each other, now and again, 
in the midst of the cries and uproar of the train* 

The Seneschal was riding in the middle ; the worthy 
old man was merry beyond his wont and very talkative* 
Wishing to amuse the quarrelsome hunters and to bring 
them to an agreement, for their benefit he concluded 
his story of Dowejko and Domejko : 

" Assessor, if I wanted you to fight a duel with the 
Notary, don't think that I thirst for human blood ; God 
forbid ! I wanted to amuse you, I wanted, so to speak, 
to arrange a comedy for you, to renew a conceit that I 
invented forty years ago, a splendid one ! You are 
younger men, and do not remember about it, but in my 
time it was famous from this forest to the woods of 

44 All the animosities of Domejko and Dowejko pro- 
ceeded, strange to say, from the very unfortunate 
similarity of their names* For when, at the time of the 
district diets, 89 the friends of Dowejko were recruiting 
partisans, some one would whisper to a gentleman, 
4 Give your vote to Dowejko ' ; but he, not hearing 
quite correctly, would give his vote to Domejko* Once 
when, at a banquet, the Marshal Rupejko proposed a 
toast, * Vivat Dowejko/ others shouted * Domejko ' ; 
and the guests sitting in the middle did not know what 
to do, especially considering one's indistinct speech at 
dinner time, 

44 That was not the worst : once a certain drunken 
squire had a sword fight in Wilno with Domejko and 
received two wounds ; later that squire, returning home 


from Wilno, by a strange chance took the same boat as 
Dowejko. So, when they were journeying along the 
Wilejka in the same boat, and he asked his neighbour 
who he was, the reply was ' Dowejko/ Without further 
ado he drew his blade from under his winter coat ; 
slash, slash, and on Domejko's account he cut off the 
mustache of Dowejko. 

44 Finally, as the last straw, it must needs be that on 
a hunting party things happened thus* The two men 
of the name were standing near each other, and both 
shot at the same time at the same she-bear* To be sure, 
immediately after their shots it did fall lifeless, but 
before that it had been carrying a dozen bullets in its 
belly* Many persons had guns of the same calibre. 
Who killed the bear { Try to find out ! How can 
you tell t 

44 Here they shouted : 4 Enough ! We must end this 
matter once for all. Whether God or the devil united 
us, we must separate ; two of us, like two suns, seem 
to be too much for one world/ And so they drew their 
sabres and took their positions. Both were worthy 
men ; the more the other gentry tried to reconcile them, 
the more furiously they let fly at each other. They 
changed their arms ; from sabres they passed to pistols ; 
they took their positions, we cried that they had put 
the barriers too near together. They, to spite us, swore 
to shoot over the skin of the bear, sure death I almost 
barrel to barrel ; both were fine shots. ' Let Hreczecha 
be our second/ * All right/ I said, ' let the sexton dig 
a hole at once, for such a dispute cannot end without 
results. But fight like gentlemen, and not like butchers. 
It is well enough to shorten the distance, I see that you 
are bold fellows ; but do you want to shoot with your 


pistols on each other's bellies i I will not permit it ; I 
agree to pistols, but you shall shoot from a distance 
neither longer nor shorter than across the bear's hide ; 
with my own hands as second I will stretch the hide of 
the bear on the ground, and I myself will station you* 
You shall stand on one side, at the end of the snout, and 
you at the tail/ 4 Agreed/ they shouted ; ' the time 1 ' 
4 To-morrow/ ' The place { ' ' The Usza tavern/ 
They parted. But I set to reading Virgil/' 

Here the Seneschal was interrupted by a cry of " At 
him 1 " Right from under the horses a hare had darted 
out ; first Bobtail and then Falcon started after it* 
They had taken the greyhounds to the hunt, knowing 
that as they returned through the fields they might very 
likely happen on a rabbit. They were walking without 
leashes alongside the horses ; when they caught sight 
of the hare, before the hunters could urge them on they 
started after it. The Notary and the Assessor wanted to 
follow on horseback, but the Seneschal checked them, 
saying ; " Hold ! stand and watch ! I will not permit 
a person to stir from the spot. From here we can all 
see well how the hare runs for the field/' In very truth, 
the hare felt behind it the hunters and the pack ; it was 
making for the field ; it stretched out behind it its ears 
like two deer's horns ; it showed like a long grey streak 
extended above the ploughed land ; beneath it its legs 
stuck out like four rods ; you would have said that it 
did not move them, but only tapped the earth on the 
surface, like a swallow kissing the water. Behind it was 
dust, behind the dust the dogs ; from a distance it 
seemed that the hare, the dust, and the dogs blended 
into one body, as though some great serpent were wind- 
ing over the plain ; the hare was the head, the dust in 


the rear was like a dark blue neck, and the dogs seemed 
to form a restless double tail. 

The Notary and the Assessor gazed with open mouths, 
and held their breath. Suddenly the Notary grew pale 
as a handkerchief ; the Assessor grew pale too : they 
saw something fatal was happening ; the farther that 
serpent went, the longer it became ; it was already 
breaking in half ; already that neck of dust had vanished ; 
the head was already near the wood, and the tails some- 
where behind ! The head disappeared ; for one last 
instant some one seemed to wave a tassel ; it was lost in 
the wood, and near the wood the tail broke up. 

The poor dogs ran bewildered along the border ; they 
seemed to offer each other mutual advice and accusations. 
Finally they came back, slowly bounding over the 
furrows, with drooping ears and tails between their legs ; 
and, running up, for very shame they did not dare to 
lift their eyes ; and, instead of going to their masters, 
they stopped on one side. 

The Notary drooped his gloomy brow towards his 
breast ; the Assessor glanced around, but in no merry 
mood. Then they began to explain to the audience how 
their greyhounds were not used to going without leashes, 
how the hare had started out suddenly, how it was a 
poor chase over the ploughed field, where the dogs 
ought to have had boots, it was all so covered with 
flints and sharp stones. 

They learnedly elucidated the matter, as experi- 
enced masters of hounds ; from their words the hunters 
might have profited greatly, but they did not listen 
attentively ; some began to whistle, others to titter ; 
others, remembering the bear, talked about that, being 
still occupied by the recent hunt. 


The Seneschal had hardly once glanced at the hare : 
seeing that it had escaped, he indifferently turned his 
head and finished his interrupted discourse : 

44 Where did I stop 1 Aha, at my making them both 
promise that they would shoot across the bear skin I 
The gentlemen cried out : * That is sure death, almost 
barrel to barrel ! * But I laughed to myself, for my friend 
Maro had taught me that the skin of a beast is no 
ordinary measure* You know, my friends, how Queen 
Dido sailed to Libya, and there with great trouble 
managed to buy a morsel of land, such as could be 
covered with a bull's hide* 90 On that tiny morsel of 
land arose Carthage ! So I thought that over attentively 
by night* 

" Hardly was day dawning, when from one side came 
Dowejko in a gig, and from the other Domejko on 
horseback* They beheld that over the river stretched 
a shaggy bridge, a girdle of bear skin cut into strips. 
I stationed Dowejko at the tail of the beast on one side, 
and Domejko on the other side. * Now blase away/ 
I said, 4 for all your lives if you choose, but I won't let 
you go until you are friends again*' They got furious, 
but then the gentry present fairly rolled on the ground 
for laughter ; and the priest and I with impressive 
words set to giving them lessons from the Gospel and 
from the Statutes* There was no help for it ; they 
laughed and had to be reconciled. 

44 Their quarrel turned later into a lifelong friendship, 
and Dowejko married the sister of Domejko ; Domejko 
espoused the sister of hisbrother-in-law,Panna Dowejko : 
they divided their property into two equal portions, and 
on the spot where so strange an occurrence had happened 
they built a tavern, and called it the Little Bear." 



Telimena's plans for the chase The little gardener is prepared for her 
entry into the great world, and listens to the instructions of her 
guardian The hunters' return Great amazement of Thaddeus 
A second meeting in the Temple of Meditation and a reconciliation 
made easy by the mediation of ants Conversation at table about 
the hunt The Seneschal's tale of Re j tan and the Prince de Nassau 
interrupted Preliminaries of peace between the two factions 
also interrupted Apparition with a key The brawl The Count 
and Gerwazy hold a council of war. 

THE Seneschal, after honourably concluding his hunt, 
was returning from the wood, but Telimena in the depths 
of the deserted mansion was just beginning her hunting. 
To be sure she sat without moving, with her arms 
folded on her breast, but with her thoughts she was 
pursuing two beasts ; she was searching for means to 
invest and capture them both at once the Count and 
Thaddeus. The Count was a young magnate, the heir 
of a great house, handsome and attractive, and already 
a trifle in love ! Well t He might be fickle ! Then, was 
he sincerely in love ^ Would he consent to marry t 
especially a woman some years older than he t and not 
rich* 1 

With these thoughts Telimena rose from the sofa 
and stood on tiptoe ; you would have said that she 
had grown tall. She opened slightly her gown over 
her bosom, leaned sideways, surveyed herself with a 
diligent eye, and again asked counsel of her mirror; 



a moment later, she lowered her eyes, sighed, and sat 

The Count was a grandee ! Men of property are 
changeable in their tastes. The Count was a blond ! 
Blonds are not over passionate. But Thaddeus t a 
simple lad ! an honest boy ! almost a child ! he was 
beginning to fall in love for the first time ! If well 
looked to he would not easily break his first ties ; 
besides that, he was already under obligations to 
Telimena. While they are young, though men are 
fickle in their thoughts, they are more constant in their 
feelings than their grandfathers, because they have a 
conscience. The simple and maidenlike heart of a 
youth long preserves gratitude for the first sweets of 
love ! It welcomes enjoyment and bids it farewell with 
gaiety, like a modest meal, which we share with a friend. 
Only an old drunkard, whose inwards are already 
burning, loathes the drink in which he drowns himself. 
All this Telimena knew thoroughly, for she had both 
sense and large experience. 

But what would people say i One could withdraw 
from their sight, go to another locality, live in retirement, 
or, what was better, remove entirely from the vicinity, 
for instance make a little trip to the capital ; she might 
introduce the young lad to the great world, guide his 
steps, aid him, counsel him, form his heart, have in 
him a counsellor and brother ! Finally, she might enjoy 
the world herself, while her years permitted. 

With these thoughts she walked boldly and gaily 
several times up and down the chamber again she 
lowered her brow. 

It might be well also to think about the fate of the 
Count could she not manage to interest him in Zosia 1 


She was not rich, but of equal birth to his, of a senatorial 
family, the daughter of a dignitary. If their marriage 
should come to pass, Telimena would have a refuge 
for the future in their home, being kin to Zosia and the 
one who secured her for the Count ; she would be like 
a mother for the young couple* 

After this decisive consultation, held with herself, 
she called from the window to Zosia, who was playing 
in the garden, 

Zosia was standing bareheaded in her morning gown, 
holding a sieve aloft in her hands ; the barnyard fowls 
were running to her feet. From one side the rough- 
feathered hens came rolling like balls of yarn ; from the 
other the crested cocks, shaking the coral helms upon 
their heads and oaring themselves with their wings over 
the furrows and through the bushes, stretched out 
broadly their spurred feet ; behind them slowly ad- 
vanced a puffed-up turkey cock, fretting at the com- 
plaints of his garrulous spouse ; there the peacocks, like 
rafts, steered themselves over the meadow with their 
long tails, and here and there a silver-winged dove 
would fall from on high like a tassel of snow. In the 
middle of the circle of greensward extended a noisy, 
moving circle of birds, girt round with a belt of doves, 
like a white ribbon, mottled with stars, spots, and stripes. 
Here amber beaks and there coral crests rose from the 
thick mass of feathers like fish from the waves. Their 
necks were thrust forward and with soft movements 
continually wavered to and fro like water lilies ; a 
thousand eyes like stars glittered upon Zosia. 

In the centre, raised high above the birds, white 
herself, and dressed in a long white gown, she turned 
about like a fountain playing amid flowers. She took 


from the sieve and scattered over the wings and heads, 
with a hand white as pearls, a dense pearly hail of barley 
grains : it was grain worthy of a lord's table, and was 
made for thickening the Lithuanian broths ; by stealing 
it from the pantry cupboard for her poultry Zosia did 
damage to the housekeeping. 

She heard the call " Zosia " that was her aunt's 
voice ! She sprinkled out all at once to the birds the 
remnant of the dainties, and twirling the sieve as a 
dancer a tambourine and beating it rhythmically, the 
playful maiden began to skip over the peacocks, the 
doves, and the hens. The birds, disturbed, fluttered up 
in a throng. Zosia, hardly touching the ground with her 
feet, seemed to tower high above them ; before her the 
white doves, which she startled in her course, flew as 
before the chariot of the goddess of love* 

Zosia with a shout rushed through the window into 
the chamber, and, out of breath, sat down upon her 
aunt's lap ; Telimena, kissing her and stroking her 
under the chin, with joy observed the liveliness and 
charm of the child (for she really loved her ward)* But 
once more she made a solemn face, rose, and walking 
up and down and across the chamber, and holding her 
finger on her lips, she spoke thus : 

44 My dear Zosia, you are quite forgetful both of your 
age and of your station in life. Why, to-day you are 
beginning your fourteenth year ; it is time to give up 
turkeys and hens. Fie ! is such fun worthy of a dignitary's 
daughter i And you have petted long enough those 
sunburned peasants' children, Zosia ! My heart aches 
to look at you ; you have tanned your shoulders dread- 
fully, like a real little gypsy ; and you walk and move 
like a village girl. From now on I shall see that all this 


is changed. I shall begin to-day ; to-day I shall take 
you into society, to the drawing-room, to our guests ; 
we have a throng of guests here. See that you do not 
cause me shame/' 

Zosia jumped from her place and clapped her hands ; 
and, clasping both arms around her aunt's neck, she wept 
and laughed by turns for very joy. 

" O auntie, it is so long since I have seen any guests ! 
Since I have been living here with the hens and turkeys, 
the only guest that I have seen was a wild dove. I'm 
just a little tired of sitting in the chamber ; the Judge 
even says that it is bad for the health/' 

44 The Judge," interrupted her aunt, " has continually 
been bothering me with requests to take you out into 
society ; has continually been mumbling under his 
breath that you are already grown up. He doesn't 
know what he is talking about himself ; he is an old 
fellow who never had any experience in the great world. 
I know better how much preparation a young lady needs, 
in order to make an impression when she comes out in 
society. You see, Zosia, that any one who grows up in 
the sight of men, even though she may be beautiful 
and clever, produces no impression, since all have been 
accustomed to seeing her ever since she was small. But 
if a well-trained, grown-up young lady suddenly appears 
glittering before the world from no one knows where, 
then everybody crowds up to her out of curiosity, 
observes all her movements, each glance of her eye, 
attends to her words and repeats them to others ; and 
when a young person gets to be in fashion, every one 
must praise her, even if he does not like her. I hope that 
you know how to behave ; you grew up in the capital. 
Though you have been living two years hereabouts, 


you have not yet completely forgotten St. Petersburg. 
Well, Zosia, make your toilet ; get the things from my 
desk, you will find ready everything needed for dressing* 
Hurry up, for at any minute they may come home from 

The chambermaid and a serving girl were sum- 
moned ; into a silver basin they poured a pitcher of 
water, and Zosia, fluttering like a sparrow in the sand, 
washed with the aid of the servant her hands, face, 
and neck. Telimena opened her St. Petersburg stores 
and took forth bottles of perfumes, and jars of pomade ; 
she sprinkled Zosia over with choice perfume the 
fragrance filled the room and smeared her hair with 
ointment. Zosia put on white open-work stockings and 
white satin shoes from Warsaw. Meanwhile the chamber- 
maid had laced her up, and then thrown a dressing- 
sack over the young lady's shoulders : after crimping 
her hair with a hot iron they proceeded to take off the 
curl-papers ; her locks, since they were rather short, 
they made into two braids, leaving the hair smooth on 
the brow and temples. Then the chambermaid, 
weaving into a wreath some freshly gathered corn- 
flowers, gave them to Telimena, who pinned them 
skilfully on Zosia 's head, from the right to the left : 
the flowers were relieved very beautifully against the 
light hair, as against ears of grain ! They took off the 
dressing-sack ; the toilet was complete. Zosia threw 
over her head a white gown, and rolled up a little 
white handkerchief in her hand, and thus, all in white, 
she looked like a white lily herself. 

After adjusting once more both her hair and her 
apparel, they told her to walk the length and breadth 
of the room. Telimena observed her with the eyes of 


an expert; she drilled her niece, grew angry, and 
grimaced; finally at Zosia 's curtsy she cried out in 
despair : 

44 Unhappy me ! Zosia, you see what comes of living 
among geese and shepherds ! You stride along like a 
boy, and turn your eyes to the right and left like a 
divorced woman I Curtsy ! see how awkward you are ! " 

44 O, auntie/' said Zosia sadly, " how am I to blame { 
You have locked me up, auntie ; there was nobody to 
dance with ; to pass. the time away I liked to feed the 
birds and to pet the children* But just wait, auntie, 
till Fve lived among other people for a little while ; 
you'll see how I improve/' 

44 Well, of the two evils/' said her aunt, " it was better 
to stay with the birds than with such a rabble as have 
hitherto been our guests ; just recollect who have been 
our visitors here: the parish priest, who mumbled a 
prayer or played checkers, and the lawyers with their 
tobacco pipes ! They are noble cavaliers ! You would 
have learned fine manners from them! Now at all events 
there is some one to show yourself to ; we have a well- 
bred company in the house* Note well, Zosia, we have 
here ayoung Count, a gentleman, well educated, a relative 
of the Wojewoda ; see that you are polite to him/' 

The neighing of horses is heard and the chatter of 
the hunters ; they are at the gate : here they are ! 
Taking Zosia on her arm she ran to the reception room. 
None of the sportsmen had as yet come in ; they had to 
change their clothes in the chambers, as they did not 
wish to join the ladies in their hunting coats. The first 
to enter were the young men, Thaddeus and the Count, 
who had dressed in great haste. 

Telimena discharged the duties of hostess, greeted 


those who entered, offered them seats, and entertained 
them with conversation ; she presented her niece to 
each in turn, first of all to Thaddeus, as being his 
near relative* Zosia curtsied politely; he bowed low, 
wanted to say something to her, and had already opened 
his lips ; but, when he looked into Zosia's eyes he was 
so abashed, that, standing dumb before her, he first 
flushed and then grew pale. What lay upon his heart, 
he himself could not guess ; he felt himself very un- 
happy he had recognised Zosia by her stature and her 
bright hair and her voice ! That form and that little 
head he had seen as she stood upon the fence ; that 
charming voice had aroused him to-day for the hunt. 
The Seneschal extricated Thaddeus from his con- 
fusion. Seeing that he was growing pale and that he 
was tottering on his legs, he advised him to go to his 
room and rest, Thaddeus took his stand in the corner 
and leaned on the mantel, without saying a word his 
wide-open, wandering eyes he turned now on the aunt 
and now on the niece. Telimena perceived that his 
first sight of Zosia had made a great impression on him ; 
she did not guess all, but she seemed rather distracted 
as she entertained the guests, and did not take her eyes 
from the young man. Finally, watching her chance, she 
ran up to him. " Are you well t Why are you so 
gloomy 4 " she asked him ; she pressed her questions, 
she hinted about Zosia, and began to jest with him. 
Thaddeus was unmoved ; leaning on his elbow, he 
kept silent, frowned, and puckered his lips : so much 
the more did he confuse and amaze Telimena. Suddenly 
she changed her countenance and the tone of her dis- 
course ; she arose in wrath, and with sharp words began 
to shower on him sarcasms and reproaches. Thaddeus, 


too, started up, as if stung by a wasp ; he looked askance ; 
without saying a word he spat, kicked away his chair, 
and bolted from the room, slamming the door behind 
him. Luckily no one of the guests paid attention to this 
scene except Telimena. 

Flying out through the gate, he ran straight into the 
field. As a pike, when a fisherman's spear pierces through 
its breast, plunges and dives, thinking to escape, but 
everywhere drags with it the iron and the line ; so 
Thaddeus bore with him his troubles, as he ploughed 
through the ditches and vaulted the fences, without 
aim or path ; until, after wandering for no small time, 
he finally entered the depths of the wood, and, whether 
on purpose or by chance, happened on the little hill 
which was the witness of his yesterday's happiness, and 
where he had received that note, the earnest of love : 
a place, as we know, called the Temple of Meditation. 

When he glanced about, behold ! there she was ! 
It was Telimena, solitary, buried in thought, and 
changed in pose and costume from her of yesterday : 
dressed all in white, seated upon a stone, and motionless, 
as if herself carved of stone, she had buried her face 
in her open hands ; though you could not hear her sobs 
you felt that she was dissolved in tears, 

In vain did the heart of Thaddeus defend itself; 
he took pity, he felt that compassion moved him. He 
long gazed without speaking, hidden behind a tree ; 
at last he sighed, and said to himself angrily : " Stupid, 
how is she to blame if I deceived myself $"' So he slowly 
thrust out his head towards her from behind the tree. 
But suddenly Telimena tore herself from her seat, 
threw herself to the right and the left, and jumped 
across the stream ; with outstretched arms and dis- 


bevelled hair, all pale, she rushed for the wood, leapt 
into the air, knelt, and fell down ; and, not being able 
to get up again, she writhed on the turf. One could see 
by her motions from what dreadful torture she was 
suffering ; she seized herself by the breast, the neck, 
the soles of her feet, her knees. Thaddeus sprang to- 
wards her, thinking that she had gone mad or was having 
an epileptic fit. But these movements proceeded from 
a different cause. 

By a neighbouring birch tree was a great ant-hill ; 
the frugal insects were wont to crawl around over the 
grass, mobile and black. Whether from necessity or 
from pleasure one cannot tell, they were especially fond 
of visiting the Temple of Meditation ; from the hillock, 
their capital, to the shores of the spring they had trodden 
a path, by which they led their troops. Unfortunately 
Telimena was sitting in the middle of the pathway ; 
the ants, allured by the sheen of the snow-white stocking, 
crawled up on it, and in swarms began to tickle and bite* 
Telimena was forced to run away and shake herself, 
finally to sit down on the grass and catch the insects. 

Thaddeus could not refuse her his aid ; brushing her 
gown he bent down to her feet ; by chance he ap- 
proached his lips to Telimena's temples in so tender 
a posture, though they said nothing of their recent 
quarrels, nevertheless they were reconciled ; and there 
is no telling how long their discourse would have lasted, 
had not the bell from Soplicowo aroused them. 

It was the signal for supper ; it was time to return 
home, especially since in the distance the crackling of 
broken branches could be heard. Perhaps they were 
looking for them t To return together was not fitting ; 
so Telimena stole to the right towards the garden, and 


Thaddeus ran to the left, to the highway. On this detour 
both were somewhat disturbed : it seemed to Telimena 
that once from behind a bush shone the thin, cowled 
face of Robak ; Thaddeus saw distinctly that once or 
twice a long white phantom made its appearance on his 
left ; what it was he knew not, but he had a suspicion 
that it was the Count in his long English frock coat. 

They had supper in the old castle. The obstinate 
Protazy, not heeding the definite orders of the Judge, 
had again stormed the castle in the absence of the people 
of higher station, and, as he said, had foreclosed the 
mortgage on it. The guests entered in order and stood 
about the table. The Chamberlain took his place at the 
head ; this honour befitted him from his age and his 
office ; advancing to it he bowed to the ladies, the old 
men, and the young men. The Collector of Alms was 
not at the table ; the Chamberlain's wife occupied the 
place of the Bernardine, on her husband's right. The 
Judge, when he had stationed the guests as was fitting, 
pronounced a Latin grace. Brandy was passed to the 
gentlemen ; thereupon all sat down, and silently and 
with relish they ate the cold salad of beet leaves whitened 
with cream. 

After the cold dish came crabs, chickens, and aspara- 
gus, along with glasses of Malaga and of Hungarian 
wine ; all ate, drank, and were silent. Probably never 
since the time when the walls of this castle were erected, 
which had generously entertained so many noble 
gentlemen, and had heard and echoed so many vivats, 
had there been memory of so gloomy a supper. The 
great, empty hall of the castle echoed only the popping 
of corks and the clink of plates ; you would have said 
that some evil spirit had tied up the lips of the guests. 


Many were the causes of this silence* The sportsmen 
had returned from the forest talkative enough, but when 
their ardour had cooled, and they thought over the hunt, 
they realised that they had come out of it with no great 
glory : was it necessary that a monkish cowl, bobbing 
up from God knows where, like Philip from the hemp, 91 
should give a lesson to all the huntsmen of the district 4 
O shame 1 What would they say of this in Oszmiana and 
Lida, which for ages had been rivals of their own dis- 
trict for the supremacy in woodcraft t So they were 
thinking this over. 

But the Assessor and the Notary, besides their mutual 
grudges, had on their minds the recent shame of their 
greyhounds. Before their eyes hovered a rascally hare, 
leaping nimbly about and bobbing its little tail from 
the wood's edge, in mockery of them ; with this tail 
it beat upon their hearts as with a scourge : so they 
sat with faces bent over their plates. But the Assessor 
had still more recent reasons for chagrin, when he 
gased at Telimena and at his rivals, 

Telimena was sitting half turned away from Thaddeus, 
and in her confusion hardly dared to glance at him ; she 
wanted to amuse the gloomy Count, and to make him 
talk more freely, so as to get him into better humour ; 
for the Count was strangely glum when he returned 
from his walk, or rather, as Thaddeus thought, from his 
ambuscade. While listening to Telimena he raised his 
brow haughtily, frowned, and looked at her almost with 
contempt ; then he sat down as near Zosia as he could, 
filled her glass, and passed plates to her, saying a thou- 
sand polite things, and bowing and smiling; some- 
times he rolled his eyes and sighed deeply. It was 
evident, however, despite such skilful deception, that 


he was flirting merely to spite Telimena ; for every 
time that he turned his head away, apparently by acci- 
dent, his threatening eye glittered upon Telimena, 

Telimena could not understand what all this meant ; 
shrugging her shoulders, she thought, "He's showing 
off I" After all she was rather glad of the Count's 
new courtship, and turned her attention to her other 

Thaddeus, also gloomy, ate nothing and drank 
nothing ; he seemed to be listening to the conversation, 
and glued his eyes on his plate. When Telimena poured 
him out wine, he was angry at her importunity ; when 
she asked about his health, he yawned. He took it ill 
(so much had he changed in one evening) that Telimena 
was too ready to flirt ; he was vext that her gown was 
cut so low immodestly and now for the first time, 
when he raised his eyes, he was almost frightened ! 
For his sight had quickened ; hardly had he glanced 
at Telimena's rosy face, when all at once he discovered 
a great and terrible secret ! For Heaven's sake, she 
was rouged ! 

Whether the rouge was of a bad sort, or somehow 
had been accidentally scratched upon her face, at all 
events, here and there it was thin, and revealed beneath 
it a coarser complexion. Perhaps Thaddeus himself, 
in the Temple of Meditation, speaking too near her, 
had brushed from its white foundation the carmine, 
lighter than the dust of a butterfly's wing, Telimena 
had come back from the wood in too much of a hurry, 
and had not had time to repair her colouring ; around 
her mouth, in particular, freckles could be seen. So the 
eyes of Thaddeus, like cunning spies, having discovered 
one piece of treason, began to explore one after another 


her remaining charms, and everywhere discovered some 
falsity. Two teeth were missing in her mouth ; on her 
brow and temples there were wrinkles ; thousands of 
wrinkles were concealed beneath her chin* 

Alas ! Thaddeus felt how unwise it is to observe 
too closely a beautiful object ; how shameful to be a 
spy over one's sweetheart ; how even loathsome it is 
to change one's taste and heart but who can control 
his heart i In vain he tried to supply the lack of love 
by conscience, to warm again the coldness of his soul 
with the flame of her glance ; now that glance, like the 
moon, bright but without warmth, shone over the 
surface of a soul that was chilled to its depths* Making 
such complaints and reproaches to himself, he bent his 
head over his plate, kept silent, and bit his lips* 

Meanwhile an evil spirit assailed him with a new 
temptation, to listen to what Zosia was saying to the 
Count. The girl, captivated by the Count's affability, 
at first blushed, lowering her eyes ; then they began 
to laugh, and finally to talk about a certain unexpected 
meeting in the garden, about a certain stepping over 
the burdocks and the vegetable beds. Thaddeus, eagerly 
pricking up his ears, devoured the bitter words and 
digested them in his soul. He had a frightful meal. As 
a serpent in a garden drinks with its double tongue from 
poisonous herbs, then rolls into a ball and lies down 
upon the path, threatening the foot that may carelessly 
step upon it, so Thaddeus, filled with the poison of 
jealousy, seemed indifferent, but yet was bursting with 

In the merriest assembly, if a few are out of sorts, at 
once their gloom spreads to the rest. The sportsmen 
had long ceased to speak, and now the other side of 


the table became silent, infected with the spleen of 

Even the Chamberlain was unusually gloomy and had 
no wish to chat, observing that his daughters, hand- 
some and well-dowered young ladies as they were, 
in the flower of youth, by universal opinion the best 
matches in the district, were silent and neglected by 
the young men, who were also silent* This also caused 
concern to the hospitable Judge ; and the Seneschal, 
noticing that all were thus silent, called the meal not 
a Polish but a wolves* supper* 

Hreczecha had an ear very sensitive to silence ; he 
himself was a great talker, and he was inordinately fond 
of chatterers* It was no wonder J He had passed all 
his life with the gentry at banquets, hunts, assemblies, 
and district consultations ; he was accustomed to 
having something always drumming in his ears, even 
when he himself was silent, or was stealing with a 
flapper after a fly, or sat musing with closed eyes ; by 
day he sought conversation, by night they had to repeat 
to him the rosary prayers, or tell him stories. Hence 
also he was a staunch enemy of the tobacco pipe, which 
he thought invented by the Germans in order to de- 
nationalise us* He used to say, " To make Poland 
dumb is to Germanise Poland,*' 92 The old man, who 
had prattled all through his life, now wished to repose 
amid prattle ; silence awoke him from sleep : thus 
millers, lulled by the clatter of the wheels, as soon as 
the axles stop, awake crying in fright : " The Lord be 
with us ! " *> 

The Seneschal by a bow made a sign to the Chamber- 
lain, and, with his hand raised to his lips, motioned to 
the Judge, asking for the floor. The gentlemen both 


returned that mute bow, meaning, " Pray speak/' The 
Seneschal opened his address : 

" I might venture to beg the young men to entertain 
us at this supper, according to the ancient custom, not 
to sit silent and munch : are we Capuchin fathers t 
Whoever keeps silent among the gentry acts exactly 
like a hunter who lets his cartridge rust in his gun ; 
therefore I praise highly the garrulity of our ancestors. 
After the chase they went to the table not only to eat, 
but that they might together speak forth freely what each 
one had within his heart ; the faults and merits of the 
huntsmen and the beaters, the hounds, the shots all 
were included in the order of the day ; there would 
arise a hubbub as dear to the ears of the sportsmen as 
a second rousing of the beast. I know, I know what ails 
you all; that cloud of black cares has undoubtedly 
arisen from Robak's cowl ! You are ashamed of your 
bad shots ! Let not your shame burn you ; I have known 
better hunters than you, and they used to miss ; to hit, 
to miss, to correct one's mistake, that is hunter's luck. 
I myself, though I have been carrying a gun ever since 
I was a child, have often missed ; that famous sportsman 
Tuloszczyk used to miss, and even the late Pan Rejtan 
did not always hit the mark. Of Rejtan I will speak later. 
As for letting the beast escape from the line of beaters, 
as for the two young gentlemen's not holding their 
ground before the beast as they ought, though they had 
a pike in their hands, that no one can either praise or 
blame : for to retreat with one's gun loaded was, ac- 
cording to our old ideas, to be a coward of cowards ; 
likewise to shoot blindly, as many do, without letting 
the beast come close or sighting at it, is a shameful 
thing ; but whoever aims well, whoever lets the beast 


come near him as is proper, even if he misses, may 
retire without shame ; or he may fight with the pike, 
but at his own pleasure and not from compulsion ; 
since the pike is put in a sportsman's hands not for attack 
but for defence alone. Such was the ancient custom ; 
and so believe me, and do not take your retreat to heart, 
my beloved Thaddeus and Your Honour the Count* 
But whenever you call to mind the happenings of to-day, 
remember also the caution of the old Seneschal, that 
one hunter should never get in another's way, and that 
two should never shoot at the same time at the same 

The Seneschal was just pronouncing the word game, 
when the Assessor whispered under his breath, dame. 
44 Bravo," cried the young men ; there arose a murmur 
and laughter ; all repeated Hrecsecha's caution, especi- 
ally the last word : some cried game, and others, laughing 
aloud, dame ; the Notary whispered skirt, the Assessor, 
flirt, fixing upon Telimena eyes like stilettos. 

The Seneschal had not thought at all of making any 
personal allusions, and had not noticed what they were 
secretly whispering ; glad that he had been able to stir 
up laughter among the ladies and the young men, he 
turned to the hunters, wishing to cheer them up also ; 
and he began anew, pouring himself out a glass of 

wine : 


In vain do my eyes seek the Bernardine ; I should 
like to tell him a curious incident, similar to what 
occurred at our hunt to-day. The Warden told us that 
he had known but one man who could shoot at long 
range with as good aim as Robak, but I knew another ; 
by an equally sure shot he saved the lives of two men 
of high rank, I saw it myself, when Rejtan, the deputy 


to the Diet, went hunting with the Prince de Nassau 
in the forests of Naliboki. Those lords were not jealous 
of the fame of an untitled gentleman, but were the first 
to propose his health at table, and gave him countless 
splendid presents, and the hide of the boar that had 
been slain. Of that wild boar and of the shot I will tell 
you as an eyewitness, for the incident was similar to 
that of to-day, and it happened to the greatest sports- 
men of my time, to the deputy Rejtan and the Prince 
de Nassau/' 

But then the Judge spoke up, pouring out a beaker : 

" I drink the health of Robak ; Seneschal, clink your 
glass with mine. If we cannot enrich the Alms-Gatherer 
with a gift, we will at least try to pay him for his powder ; 
we promise solemnly that the bear killed this day in 
the wood shall suffice the cloister kitchen for two years. 
But the skin I will not give to the Monk ; I will either 
take it by force or the Monk must yield it to me through 
humility, or I will buy it, though it cost me the pelts 
of ten sables. Of that skin we will dispose according 
to our will ; the first crown and glory the servant of 
God has already received, the hide His Excellency the 
Chamberlain shall give to him who has deserved the 
second reward. " 

The Chamberlain rubbed his forehead and lowered 
his eyebrows. The sportsmen began to murmur, and 
each made some remark ; one how he had discovered 
the beast, another how he had wounded it ; this one 
had called on the dogs, and that turned back the beast 
into the forest once more. The Assessor and the Notary 
disputed, one exalting the merits of his Sanguszko gun, 
the other those of his Sagalas musket from Balabanowka. 

" Neighbour Judge," pronounced the Chamberlain 


at last, " the servant of God has rightfully won the first 
reward ; but it is not easy to decide who is the next to 
him, for all seem to me to have equal merits, all to be 
equal in skill, adroitness, and courage* Fortune, how- 
ever, has this day distinguished two by the danger in 
which they were ; two were nearest to the bear's claws, 
Thaddeus and the Count ; to them the skin belongs. 
Thaddeus will yield, I am sure, as the younger, and as 
the kinsman of our host ; hence Your Honour the Count 
will receive the spolia opima. 9 * Let this trophy adorn 
your hunting chamber, let it be a reminder of to-day's 
sport, a symbol of fortune in the chase, a spur to future 

He concluded gaily, thinking that he had soothed the 
Count, and did not know how grievously he had stabbed 
his heart. For at the mention of his hunting chamber 
the Count involuntarily raised his eyes ; and those 
horns of stags, those branching antlers like a forest of 
laurels, sown by the hands of the fathers to form crowns 
for the sons, those pillars adorned with rows of portraits, 
that coat of arms shining in the vaulting, the old Half- 
Goat, spoke to him from all sides with voices of the past. 
He awoke from his musings, and remembered where he 
was and whose guest ; he, the heir of the Horesskos, was 
a guest within his own threshold, was feasting with the 
Soplicas, his immemorial foes ! And moreover the 
jealousy that he felt for Thaddeus incensed the Count 
all the more powerfully against the Soplicas. So he 
said with a bitter laugh : 

44 My little house is too small; in it there is no worthy 
place for so magnificent a gift : let the bear rather abide 
amid these horned trophies until the Judge deign to 
yield it to me together with the castle." 


The Chamberlain, guessing whither things were 
tending, tapped his golden snuffbox, and asked for the 

" You deserve praise, my neighbour Count/' he said, 
" for caring for your interests even at dinner time, not 
living thoughtlessly from day to day as do fashionable 
young fellows of your years. I wish and hope to end 
the trial in my Chamberlain's court by a reconciliation ; 
hitherto the only difficulty has been over the improve- 
ments* I have formed a project of exchange, to make up 
for the improvements with land, in the following 

Here he began to develop in due order, as he always 
did, a plan for the exchange that was to take place* He 
was already in the middle of the subject, when an un- 
expected movement started at the end of the table ; 
some were pointing at something that they had noticed, 
and others were looking in the same direction, until 
finally all heads, like ears of grain bent down by a wind 
behind them, were turned away from the Chamberlain, 
to the corner. 

From the corner, where hung the portrait of the late 
Pantler, the last of the Horeszko family, from a little 
door concealed between the pillars, had quietly come 
forth a form like a phantom. It was Gerwazy ; they 
recognised him by his stature, by his face, and by the 
little silvery Half-Goats on his yellow coat. He walked 
straight as a post, silent and grim, without taking off 
his hat, without even inclining his head ; in his hand 
he held a glittering key, like a dagger ; he opened a 
case and began to turn something in it. 

In two corners of the hall, against pillars, stood two 
musical clocks in locked cases ; the queer old fellows, 


long at odds with the sun, often indicated noon at sun- 
set* Gerwazy had not undertaken to repair the machines, 
but he would not give up winding them ; he turned the 
key in the clocks every evening, and the time for wind- 
ing had just come* While the Chamberlain was occupy- 
ing the attention of the parties interested in the case, 
he drew up the weight ; the rusty wheels gnashed their 
broken teeth ; the Chamberlain shuddered and inter- 
rupted his dissertation, " Brother/' he said, " postpone 
a bit your faithful toil ; " and he went on with his plan 
of an exchange ; but* the Warden, to spite him, pulled 
still more strongly the other weight, and suddenly the 
bullfinch perched on the top of the clock began to flap 
its wings and pour forth one of its melodies* The bird, 
which had been artistically made, but was, unfortun- 
ately, out of order, began to moan and whistle, ever 
worse and worse* The guests burst out laughing ; the 
Chamberlain had to break off again* " My dear 
Warden/' he cried, " or rather screech owl, 95 if you 
value your beak, quit that hooting*" 

But Gerwazy was not at all frightened by the threat ; 
with dignity he put his right hand on the clock and 
rested the left on his hip ; with both hands thus sup- 
ported he cried : 

" My precious Chamberlain, a grandee is free to make 
jokes* The sparrow is smaller than the owl, but on its 
own shavings it is bolder than the owl in a mansion not 
its own* A Warden is no owl ; whoever comes by night 
into another man's loft is an owl, and I will scare him 

44 Put him out ! " shouted the Chamberlain* 

44 Count, you see what is being done," called the 
Warden. 44 Is Your Honour not yet sufficiently tainted 


by eating and drinking with these Soplicas $* In addition, 
must I, the keeper of the castle, Gerwasy Rembajlo, 
Warden of the Horesskos, be insulted in the house of 
my lords t and will you endure it ! " 

Thereupon Protazy called out three times : 

44 Silence, clear the room ! I, Protazy Baltazar 
Brzechalski, known under two titles, once General of 
the Tribunal, commonly called Apparitor, hereby make 
my apparitor's report and formal declaration claiming 
as witnesses all free-born persons here present and 
summoning the Assessor to investigate the case in 
behalf of His Honour Judge Soplica as to an incursion, 
that is to say, an infringement of the frontier, a violent 
entry of the castle, over which hitherto the Judge has 
had legal authority, an evident proof of which is the 
fact that he is eating in the castle/' 

44 Wind-bag," yelled the Warden, " I'll show you 
now ! " 

And, taking from his belt his iron keys, he whirled 
them round his head and hurled them with all his might ; 
the bunch of iron flew like a stone from a sling* It would 
surely have split Protazy's brow into quarters, but 
luckily the Apparitor ducked and escaped death. 

All started from their places* For a moment there was 
a dead silence ; then the Judge cried, " To the stocks 
with that bully ! Ho, boys ! " and the servants rushed 
nimbly along the narrow passage between the wall and 
the bench* But the Count blocked their way with a 
chair, and, placing his foot firmly on that feeble en- 
trenchment, called out : 

44 Beware, Judge I No one shall do injury to my 
servant in my own house ; whoever has a complaint 
against the old man, let him present it to me/' 


The Chamberlain cast a sidelong glance into the 
eyes of the Count : 

44 Without your valuable aid I shall manage to punish 
the insolent old fellow; but Your Honour the Count 
is appropriating the castle ahead of time, before the 
decree is pronounced* You are not lord here, you are 
not entertaining us. Sit quiet as you have been sitting ; 
if you honour not my grey head, at least respect the 
first office in the district/' 

" What do I care t " muttered the Count in return* 
" Enough of this prattle ! Bore other men with your 
respects and offices ! I have been guilty of folly enough 
already, when I joined with you gentlemen in drinking 
bouts that end by becoming coarse brawls. Give me 
satisfaction for the injury to my honour ! We shall meet 
again when you are sober follow me, Gerwasy ! " 

The Chamberlain had never expected any such 
answer as this, and was just filling his glass, when he 
was smitten by the insolence of the Count as by thunder : 
resting the bottle motionless against the glass, he leaned 
his head to one side and pricked up his ears, opening 
wide his eyes and half unclosing his lips ; he held his 
peace, but squeezed the glass in his hand so powerfully 
that it broke with a snap and sent the liquor spurting 
into his eyes. One would have said that with the wine 
fire was poured into his soul ; so did his face flame, so 
did his eye blaze. He struggled to speak; the first 
word he ground indistinctly in his mouth, until it flew 
forth between his teeth : 

44 Fool ! you cub of a Count ! I'll teach you ! Thomas, 
my sabre ! I'll teach you mores, you fool ; get to hell 
out of here 1 Respects and offices wound your delicate 
ears ! I'll pay you up right off over your pretty earrings. 


Get out of the door, draw your sword ! Thomas, my 
sabre ! " 

Then friends rushed to the Chamberlain, and the 
Judge seised his hand. 

" Hold, sir, this is our affair ; I was challenged first. 
Protazy, my hanger ! I will make him dance like a bear 
on a pole ! " 

But Thaddeus checked the Judge : 

44 My dear uncle, and Your Honour the Chamberlain, 
is it fitting for you gentlemen to meddle with this fop t 
Are there not young men here t And you, my brave 
youth, who challenge old men to combat, we shall see 
whether you are so terrible a knight ; we will settle 
accounts to-morrow, and chose our place and weapons. 
To-day depart, while you are still whole." 

The advice was good ; the Warden and the Count 
had fallen into no common straits. At the upper end of 
the table only a mighty shouting was raging, but at the 
lower end bottles were flying around the head of the 
Count. The frightened women began to beseech and 
weep ; Telimena, with a cry of " Alas ! " lifted her 
eyes, rose, and fell in a faint ; and, inclining her neck 
over the Count's shoulder, laid upon his breast her 
swan's breast. The Count, infuriated though he was, 
checked himself in his mad career, and began to revive 
her and chafe her. 

Meanwhile Gerwasy, exposed to the blows of stools 
and bottles, was already tottering ; already the servants, 
doubling up their fists, were rushing on him from all 
sides in a crowd, when, fortunately, Zosia, seeing the 
assault, leapt up, and, filled with pity, sheltered the old 
man by extending her arms like a cross. They checked 
themselves ; Gerwazy slowly retired and vanished from 


sight ; they looked to see where he had hidden himself 
beneath the table, when suddenly he came out on the 
other side as if from under the earth, and, raising aloft a 
bench in his strong arms, whirled round like a windmill 
and cleared half the hall. He seized the Count, and thus 
both, sheltered by the bench, retired towards the little 
door ; when they were already almost at the threshold, 
Gerwazy stopped, once more eyed his foes, and deliber- 
ated for an instant, whether to retire under arms, or 
with new weapons to seek fortune in war* He chose the 
second ; already he had swung back the bench for a 
blow, like a battering-ram ; already, with head bent 
down, breast thrust forward, and foot uplifted, he was 
about to attack when he caught sight of the Seneschal, 
and felt terror in his heart* 

The Seneschal, sitting quietly, with half-closed eyes, 
had seemed buried in deep thought ; only when the 
Count had bandied words with the Chamberlain and 
threatened the Judge, the Seneschal had turned his 
head, had twice taken a pinch of snuff and rubbed his 
eyes. Although the Seneschal was only a distant relative 
of the Judge, yet he was established in his hospitable 
house, and was beyond measure careful about the health 
of his friend. Therefore he gazed with curiosity at 
the combat, and slowly extended on the table his arm, 
hand, and fingers ; on his palm he laid a knife, with the 
haft extended to the tip of the index finger, and the 
point turned towards his elbow ; then with his arm 
extended a trifle backward he poised it as if playing 
with it but he watched the Count. 

The art of throwing knives, terrible in hand to hand 
combat, had at that time already fallen into disuse in 
Lithuania, and was familiar only to old men ; the 


Warden had tried it often in tavern quarrels, and the 
Seneschal was expert at it* From the motion of his arm 
one could see that he would hit hard, and from his eyes 
one could easily guess that he was aiming at the Count 
(the last of the Horeszkos, although in the female line) ; 
the young men, less observant, did not understand the 
motions of the old Seneschal, but Gerwazy turned pale, 
shielded the Count with the bench, and withdrew 
towards the door, " Catch him ! " shouted the crowd, 

As a wolf when surprised over its carrion throws 
itself blindly into the pack that disturbs its meal ; he 
is already chasing them, he is about to tear them, when 
amid the yelping of the dogs a gun hammer gently 
clicks ; the wolf recognises it by the click, glances in 
that direction ; he notices that in the rear, behind the 
hounds, a hunter, half crouching and upon one knee, is 
moving the gun barrel towards him and is just touching 
the trigger ; the wolf droops its ears and scuttles off 
with its tail between its legs ; the pack with a trium- 
phant uproar rush on and pluck it by its shaggy flanks ; 
the beast often turns, glances at them, snaps its jaws ; 
and hardly does he threaten them with the gnashing 
of his white teeth when the pack scamper away whining : 
so did Gerwazy withdraw with threatening mien, check- 
ing his assailants by his eyes and by the bench, until the 
Count and he reached the back of the dark niche, 

" Catch him ! " they cried again ; the triumph was 
not long : for over the heads of the throng the Warden 
appeared unexpectedly in the gallery, by the old organ, 
and with a crash began to tear out the leaden pipes ; 
he would have worked great havoc by his blows from 
above. But the guests were already leaving the hall in 
a throng ; the terrified servants did not dare to hold 


their ground, but, seizing some of the platters, ran out 
after their masters ; they left behind even the plates 
and a part of the service* 

Who last, caring not for the threats and blows, retired 
from the scene of battle 4 Protazy Brzechalski. He, 
standing unmoved behind the Judge's chair, in his 
apparitor's voice recited his notification until he had 
reached the very end ; then he abandoned the empty 
battlefield, where remained corpses, wounded, and ruins. 

Among the men jhere were no casualties ; but all 
the benches had legs dislocated, and the table was also 
crippled : stripped of its cloth, it lay upon plates 
dripping with wine like a knight upon bloody shields 
among numerous bodies of chickens and turkeys, 
from which protruded the forks lately stuck within 
their breasts. 

In a moment all within the deserted building of the 
Horeszkos had returned to its wonted calm. The 
darkness thickened ; the remnants of the magnificent 
feast lay like that nocturnal banquet to which the ghosts 
of the departed must gather when evoked at the festival 
of the Forefathers?* Now the owls had cried thrice from 
the garret, like conjurers ; they seemed to greet the 
rising of the moon of which the form fell through the 
window on the table, trembling like a spirit in Purgatory ; 
from the vaults beneath rats leapt out through holes, 
like the souls of the damned ; they gnawed and drank ; 
at times in a corner a forgotten champagne bottle would 
pop as a toast to the spirits. 

But on the second story, in the room that was still 
called the mirror room, though the mirrors were gone, 
stood the Count on the balcony facing the gate. He was 
cooling himself in the breeze ; he had put his long 


coat on only one arm, folding the other sleeve and the 
skirts about his neck and draping his breast with the 
coat as with a cloak* Gerwazy was walking with long 
steps through the apartment ; both were deep in 
thought, and were talking together. 

" Pistols," said the Count, " or, if they prefer, sabres/' 

" The castle," said the Warden, " and the village, 
both are ours." 

" Challenge the uncle, the nephew," exclaimed the 
Count, " the whole family ! " 

" Seize the castle," exclaimed the Warden, " the 
village and the lands ! " As he said this he turned 
to the Count. " If you wish to have peace, take pos- 
session of the whole. Of what use is the lawsuit, my 
boy I The affair is plain as day : the castle has been in 
the hands of the Horesskos for four hundred years ; 
a part of the estate was torn from it in the time of the 
Targowica confederacy, and, as you know, given into 
the possession of the Soplica. You ought to take from 
them not only that part, but the whole, for the costs 
of the suit, and as punishment for their plundering. 
I have always said to you, let lawsuits alone ; I have 
always said to you, raid them, make a foray 97 on them. 
That was the ancient custom : whoever once possessed 
an estate was the heir thereof ; win in the field and you 
will win in the court too. As for our ancient quarrels 
with the Soplicas, for them I have a little penknife that 
is better than a lawsuit ; and, if Maciej gives me the 
aid of his switch, then we two together will chop those 
Soplicas into fodder." 

" Bravo ! " said the Count, " your plan, of Gothico- 
Sarmatian stamp, pleases me better than the wrangling 
of advocates. See here ! Through all Lithuania we will 


make a stir by an expedition such as has not been heard 
of for many a long day. And we shall enjoy it ourselves* 
For two years have I been abiding here, and what 
fighting have I ever seen t With boors over a boundary 
line ! Our expedition, however, promises bloodshed ; 
in one such I took part during my travels* When I 
tarried in Sicily with a certain Prince, brigands bore 
away his son-in-law into the mountains, and insolently 
demanded a ransom from his kinsfolk ; we, hastily 
gathering our servants and vassals, attacked them : 
I killed two robbers with mine own hand ; I was the 
first to break into their camp ; I freed the prisoner. 
Ah, my Gerwazy, how triumphant, how beautiful was 
our return, in knightly-feudal style ! The populace met 
us with flowers the daughter of the Prince, grateful to 
the deliverer, with tears fell into my embraces. When 
I arrived at Palermo, they knew of it from the gazette, 
and all the women pointed at me* They even printed 
a romance about the whole event, where I am men- 
tioned by name. The romance is entitled, The Count; 
or, The Mysteries of the Castle of Birbante-Rocca. Are 
there dungeons in this castle 1 " 

4 There are immense beer-cellars/' said the Warden, 
44 but empty, for the Soplicas have drunk up the wine ! " 

14 We must arm the jockeys on the estate/ ' added the 
Count, " and summon the vassals from the village/' 

44 Lackeys < God forbid ! " interrupted Gerwazy. 4t Is 
a foray a drunk and disorderly affair i Who ever heard 
of making a foray with boors and lackeys 1 Sir, you 
know nothing at all about forays ! Vassals, that is, 
mustachioed champions, 98 are something quite different ; 
vassals of that sort can be found. But we must not look 
for them in the peasant villages, but through the hamlets 


of the gentry, in Dobrzyn, in Rzesikow, in Cientycze, 
in Rombanki ; " the gentry of ancient lineage, in whom 
flows knightly blood, are all well disposed to the family 
of the Horeszkos, and are all mortal enemies of the 
Soplicas ! Thence I will collect some three hundred 
mustachioed gentlemen ; that is my affair* Do you re- 
turn to your mansion and sleep your fill, for to-morrow 
there will be hard work ; you are fond of sleeping, it 
is already late, the second cock is already crowing. I 
will guard the castle here until day breaks, and at sun- 
rise I shall be in the hamlet of Dobrzyn." 

At these words the Count withdrew from the balcony, 
but before he departed he glanced through the opening 
of an embrasure, and exclaimed, seeing a multitude of 
lights in the household of the Soplicas, " Illuminate 
if you will ! To-morrow at this time it will be bright 
in this castle, but dark in your mansion/' 

Gerwazy sat down upon the floor, leaned against the 
wall, and bent down his thought-laden brow towards 
his breast. The light of the moon fell on his bald pate, 
and Gerwasy drew upon it various patterns with his 
ringer ; it was evident that he was spinning warlike 
plans for future expeditions. His heavy lids were more 
and more weighed down ; his head nodded on his 
powerless neck ; he felt that sleep was overcoming him, 
and began according to his wont his evening prayers. 
But between the Pater Noster and the Ave Maria arose 
strange phantoms, wavering, and jostling each other : 
the Warden sees the Horeszkos, his ancient lords ; 
some carry sabres, and others maces ; 10 each gazes 
menacingly and twirls his mustache, flourishing his 
sabre or brandishing his mace after them flashed one 
silent, gloomy shadow, with a bloody spot upon its 


breast* Gerwasy shuddered, he had recognised the 
Pantler ; he began to cross himself, and, the more 
surely to drive away his terrible visions, he recited the 
litany for souls in Purgatory* Again his eyes closed fast 
and his ears rang he sees a throng of mounted gentry ; 
their sabres glitter : " The foray, the foray against 
Korelicse, and Rymsza at the head ! " And he beholds 
himself, how he flies on a grey horse, with his dreadful 
sword uplifted above his head ; his taratatka, 101 opened 
wide, rustles in the, breeze ; his red plumed hat has 
fallen backward from his left ear ; he flies on, and upon 
the road overthrows both horsemen and foot-travellers, 
and finally he burns the Soplica in his barn. Then his 
head, heavy with its musings, drooped upon his breast, 
and thus fell asleep the last Warden of the Horesskos. 




Warlike preparations for the foray Protazy's expedition Robak and 
the Judge consult on public affairs Continuation of Protazy's 
fruitless expedition A digression on hemp Dobrzyn, the hamlet 
of gentry Description of the person and the way of life of Maciek 

IMPERCEPTIBLY there crept forth from the moist darkness 
a dawn with no red glow, bringing on a day with no 
brightness in its eye* It was day long since, and yet one 
could hardly see* The mist hung over the earth like a 
straw thatch over the poor hut of a Lithuanian ; towards 
the east one could see from a somewhat whiter circle in 
the sky that the sun had risen, and that thence it must 
once more descend to the earth ; but it did not advance 
gaily and it slumbered on the road. 

Following the example of the sky, everything was 
late on earth ; the cattle started late to pasture, and 
caught the hares at a late breakfast* These usually 
returned to the groves at dawn : to-day, covered by 
the thick fog, some were nibbling duckweed; others, 
gathered in pairs, were digging holes in the field, and 
thought to enjoy themselves in the open air ; but the 
cattle drove them back to the forest. 

Even in the forest there was quiet. The birds on 
awakening did not sing, but shook the dew from their 
feathers, hugged the trees, tucked their heads under 
their wings, closed their eyes again, and awaited the 



sun. Somewhere on the borders of a swamp a stork 
clacked with its bill ; on the haycocks sat drenched 
ravens, which, with open beaks, poured forth ceaseless 
chatter hateful to the farmers as an omen of damp 
weather. The farmers had long since gone out to 

The women, reaping, had already begun their usual 
song, gloomy, melancholy, and monotonous as a rainy 
day, all the sadder since its sound soaked into the mist 
without an echo ; the sickles clinked in the grain, and 
the meadow resounded, A line of mowers cutting the 
rowen whistled ceaselessly a jingling tune ; at the end 
of each swath they stopped, sharpened their scythes, 
and rhythmically hammered them. The people could 
not be seen in the mist ; only the sickles, the scythes, 
and the songs hummed together like the notes of in- 
visible music. 

In the centre, the Steward, seated on a pile of grain, 
turned his head gloomily, and did not look at the work ; 
he was gating on the highway, at the cross-roads, where 
something unusual was going on. 

On the highway and in the byways since early dawn 
there had been unusual animation ; from one side a 
peasant's waggon creaked, flying like a post-chaise ; 
from another a gentleman's gig rattled at full gallop, 
and met a second and a third ; from the left-hand road 
a messenger rushed like a courier, from the right raced 
a dozen horses ; all were hurrying, though they were 
headed in different directions. What could this mean { 
The Steward arose from the pile. He wished to look 
into the matter, to make inquiries ; he stood long on the 
road, and shouted vainly, but could stop no one, nor 
even recognise any one in the fog. The riders flashed 


by like spirits ; there could only be heard from time to 
time the dull sound of hoofs, and, what was stranger 
yet, the clank of sabres ; this greatly rejoiced the 
Steward and yet it terrified him : for, though at that 
time there was peace in Lithuania, dull rumours of war 
had long been current, of the French, Dombrowski, 
and Napoleon . Were these horsemen and these arms 
an omen of wars' The Steward ran to tell all to the 
Judge, hoping likewise to learn something himself. 

At Soplicowo the inmates of the house and the guests, 
after the brawl of the day before, had arisen gloomy and 
discontented with themselves. In vain the Seneschal's 
daughter invited the ladies to tell fortunes with cards ; 
in vain they suggested a game of marriage to the gentle- 
men. They would not amuse themselves or play, but 
sat silently in the corners ; the men smoked pipes, the 
women knitted ; even the flies were asleep. The 
Seneschal, who had thrown aside his flapper, was bored 
by the silence and went to join the servants ; he pre- 
ferred to listen in the kitchen to the cries of the house- 
keeper, the threats and blows of the cook, the noise of 
the serving boys ; at last the monotonous motion of the 
spits that turned the roast gradually caused him to fall 
into pleasant musings. 

Since early morning the Judge had been writing, 
locked in his room ; since early morning the Apparitor 
had been waiting beneath the window, on a bench of 
turf. After finishing his summons, the Judge called in 
Protazy and read in a loud voice his complaint against 
the Count, for wounding his honour and for insulting 
expressions, and against Gerwasy, for violence and 
blows ; both of them he cited before the criminal court 
in the district town for threats and to pay the costs of 


the lawsuit between them* The summons must be 
served that very day, by word of mouth, in presence 
of the parties, before the sun went down. As soon as he 
caught sight of the summons, the Apparitor extended his 
hand and listened with a solemn air ; he stood there 
with dignity, but he would have been glad to jump for 
joy. At the very thought of the lawsuit he felt himself 
young again ; he remembered those years long gone 
by, when he used to serve many a summons, sure to 
receive bruises in return, but at the same time generous 
pay. Thus a soldief who has passed his life waging war, 
and in his old age rests crippled in a hospital, as soon 
as he hears a trumpet or a distant drum, starts up from 
his bed, cries in his sleep, " Smite the Muscovites ! " 
and on his wooden leg rushes from the hospital so 
quickly that young men can hardly catch him, 

Protazy hastened to put on his apparitor's costume ; 
he did not however don his tunic or his kontusz : those 
were reserved for the pomp and ceremony of the court 
sessions. For the journey he had different clothes : 
broad riding trousers, and a coat, of which the skirts 
could be buttoned up or let fall over the knees ; a cap 
with ear flaps, tied up with a string they could be 
raised for fine weather and let down in case of rain. 
Thus clad he took his cane and set out on foot, for 
apparitors before a lawsuit, as spies before battle, must 
hide under various forms and costumes. 

Prota2y did well in hastening to depart, for he would 
have had no long comfort from his summons. In 
Soplicowo they changed their plans of campaign, Robak, 
thoughtful and perplexed, suddenly broke in upon the 
Judge and said : 

44 Judge, we shall have trouble with that aunt, with 


that giddy-pated coquette, Telimena, When Zosia was 
left alone, a child and poor, Jacek gave her to Telimena 
to be brought up, hearing that she was a good sort of 
woman and knew the world ; but I notice that she is 
stirring things up for us here ; she is intriguing and 
seems to be flirting with Thaddeus : I have my eye on 
her. Or perhaps she is aiming at the Count, perhaps at 
both at once. So let us think over how to get rid of her, 
for from her actions may arise gossip, a bad example, 
and quarrels among the youngsters, which may be a 
hindrance to your legal negotiations/* 

" Negotiations t " cried the Judge with unusual 
warmth, " I'm done with negotiations ; I've finished 
with them, broken them off/' 

" What's this t " interrupted Robak, " where 's your 
sense, where 's your head < What nonsense are you 
telling me t What new row has come up t " 

" It is not my fault," said the Judge ; " the trial will 
make the matter plain. That pompous, stupid Count was 
the cause of the squabble, and that rascal Gerwazy ; 
but this is the business of the court. It is too bad 
that you were not in the castle at the supper, Father ; 
you would have borne witness how fearfully the Count 
insulted me," 

" My dear sir," cried Robak, " why did you insist 
on going to those ruins i You know that I cannot stand 
the castle ; henceforth I will never set foot there again* 
Another brawl ! The judgment of God be on us ! 
How did it happen i Tell me ! This matter must be 
hushed up, I am sick already of seeing so many acts 
of folly ; I have more important business than to 
reconcile litigious squabblers ; but I will reconcile you 
once again," 


" Reconcile ^ What do you mean ! Go to the devil 
with your reconciliation !" interrupted the Judge, stamp- 
ing his foot, " Look at this monk ! Because I receive 
him courteously, he wants to lead me by the nose. Pray 
understand that the Soplicas are not wont to be recon- 
ciled ; when they summon a man to court they must 
win their case. Sometimes a suit has continued in their 
name until they won it in the sixth generation. I com- 
mitted folly enough by your advice when I convoked 
for the third time the Chamberlain's court. From this 
day on there shall be no compromise, none, none, none!" 
(As he shouted these words he walked up and down and 
stamped both feet.) "Besides that, he must beg my 
pardon for his discourteous act of yesterday, or fight 
a duel ! " 

" But, Judge, what will happen if Jacek learns of 
this < He will certainly die of despair ! Have not the 
Soplicas done evil enough in this castle 1 Brother, I 
do not wish to mention that terrible event, but you too 
know that the Targowica confederates 103 took a part of 
the estate from the owner of the castle and gave it to 
the Soplicas. Jacek, repenting his sin, had to vow, when 
absolved, to restore those lands. So he took Zosia, the 
poor heiress of the Horeszkos, under his care, and he 
paid a great price for her bringing up. He wished to 
win her for his own son Thaddeus, and thus unite in 
brotherly affection two hostile houses, and yield without 
shame to the heiress what had been plundered from 

" But what have I to do with all this t " cried the 
Judge. " I have never been acquainted with Jacek 
have not even seen him ; I had scarcely heard of his 
riotous life, since I was then studying rhetoric in a 


Jesuit school, and later served as page with the Wojewoda. 
They gave me the estate and I took it ; he told me to 
receive Zosia, and I received her and cared for her, and 
am planning for her future, I am weary enough of all 
this old wives* tale ! And then why did this Count 
intrude upon me here i With what right to the castle t 
You know, my friend, he's only some sixteenth cousin to 
the Horesskos, the tenth water on the kisieL 104 ' And he 
must insult me** and I invite him to a reconciliation!" 

" Brother," said the Monk, " there are weighty 
reasons for this. You remember that Jacek wanted to 
send his son to the army, but later let him remain in 
Lithuania : what reason was there for that t Why, 
at home he will be more useful to his country. You have 
surely heard the news of which every one is talking, and 
of which I have often brought tidings : now is the time 
to tell it all, now is the time ! An important matter, 
my brother ! Now the war is upon us ! A war for Poland, 
brother I We shall be Poles once more ! War is inevi- 
table. When I hurried here on a secret mission, the 
vanguard of the army was already on the Niemen. 
Napoleon is already gathering an immense army, such 
as man has never seen and history does not remember ; 
by the side of the French the whole Polish army is 
advancing, our Joseph, 105 our Dombrowski, our white 
eagles ! They are already on the march, at the first 
sign from Napoleon they will cross the Niemen ; and, 
brother, our Fatherland will be restored ! " 

The Judge, as he listened, slowly folded his spectacles, 
and gazed fixedly at the Monk, but said nothing ; he 
sighed deeply, and tears stood in his eyes finally he 
clasped Robak about the neck with all his might, 
exclaiming : 


" My Robak, is this really true 1 My Robak," he 
repeated, " is this really true t How many times they 
have deceived us ! Do you remember, they said that 
Napoleon was already on the road ? And we were wait- 
ing I They said, he is already in the Kingdom, 106 he has 
already beaten the Prussians, and is coming in among 
us ! And what did he do t He made peace at Tilsit* 107 
Is it really true $* Are you not deceiving yourself t " 

" It is the truth/' cried Robak, " as God is in 
Heaven ! " 

" Blessed be the lips that bring these tidings ! " said 
the Judge, raising his hands on high* ' You shall not 
regret your mission, Robak ; your monastery shall not 
regret it ; two hundred choice sheep I give to your 
monastery* Monk, yesterday you expressed a desire 
for my chestnut and praised my bay ; to-day the two 
shall at once be harnessed to the waggon in which 
you gather alms. To-day ask me for what you wish, for 
whatever pleases you, and I will not refuse ! But as to 
all that business with the Count, let me alone ; he has 
wronged me, I have already summoned him to court 
is it fitting that I should propose an accommodation 4 " 

The astonished Monk wrung his hands. Fixing his 
eyes upon the Judge and shrugging his shoulders, he 
said : 

" So, when Napoleon is bringing liberty to Lithuania, 
when all the world trembles, then you are thinking of 
your lawsuit ^ And after all that I have told you will you 
sit calmly, folding your hands, when one must act t " 

" Act < How < " asked the Judge* 

" Have you not yet read it in my eyes t " replied 
Robak. " Does your heart still tell you nothing Ah, 
brother, if you have one drop of the Soplicas' blood in 



your veins, just consider : the French are striking from 
in front what if we stir up a rising of the people from 
the rear 4 What do you think t Let our Warhorse neigh, 
let the Bear roar in Zmudz ! 108 Ah, if only a thousand 
men, if but five hundred should press from behind upon 
the Muscovites, and spread abroad the rising like fire ; 
if we, seizing cannon and standards from the Mus- 
covites, should go as conquerors to greet the deliverers 
of our kinsmen t We advance ! Napoleon, seeing our 
lances, asks, ' What army is that 1 ' We shout, ' The 
insurgents, Most August Emperor; the volunteers of 
Lithuania I ' He asks, ' Who is their commander t ' 
4 Judge Soplica ! ' Ah, who then would dare to breathe 
a word of Targowica t Brother, while Ponary stands, 
while the Niemen flows, so long will the name of the 
Soplicas be famous in Lithuania ; to their grandsons 
and great-grandsons the capital of the Jagiellos 109 will 
point, saying, * There is a Soplica, one of those Soplicas 
who first started the revolt/ ' 

" People's talk is of small account," answered the 
Judge, " I have never greatly cared for the praises of 
the world. God is my witness that I am innocent of my 
brother's sins ; in politics I have never meddled much, 
but have performed the duties of my office and ploughed 
my patch of ground. But I am a gentleman by birth, and 
should be glad to wipe out the blot on my escutcheon ; 
I am a Pole, and should be glad to do some service for 
my country even to lay down my life* With the sabre 
I was never over skilled, and yet some men have 
received slashes even from me. The world knows that 
at the time of the last Polish district assemblies I 
challenged and wounded the two brothers Buzwik, 
who But enough of this. What is your idea, sir f 


Should we take the field at once t To gather musketeers 
is easy ; I have plenty of powder, and at the parish 
house the priest has some small cannon ; I remember 
that Jankiel has told me that he has some points for 
lances, which I may take in case of need. He smuggled 
these lance-points in cases of goods, from Konigsberg ; 
we will take them, and make shafts at once. There 
will be no lack of sabres ; the gentry will mount their 
steeds, my nephew and I at the head, and 4 Some- 
how we'll manage it ! " 

" O Polish blood-! " exclaimed the Bernardine with 
emotion, leaping towards the Judge with open arms ; 
" true child of the Soplicas ! God ordains you to wipe 
out the sins of your vagabond brother. I have always 
respected you, but from this instant I love you, as 
though we were own brothers. Let us prepare every- 
thing, but it is not yet time to take the field ; I myself 
will indicate the place and will inform you of the time. 
I know that the Tsar has sent messengers to Napoleon 
to ask for peace ; the war is not yet proclaimed. But 
Prince Joseph has heard from Pan Bignon, 110 a French- 
man, a member of the Imperial Council, that all these 
negotiations will come to nothing, that there will be 
war. The Prince sent me as a scout with instructions 
that the Lithuanians should be ready to announce to 
Napoleon when he came that they wish to unite anew 
with their sister, the Kingdom, and desire that Poland 
be restored. Meanwhile, brother, you must be reconciled 
with the Count ; he is a crank, a trifle fantastic in his 
notions, but he is a good, honest young Pole ; we need 
such ; cranks are very necessary in revolutions, as I 
know from experience ; even stupid fellows will be of 
service, so long as they are honest and under the 


authority of clever men* The Count is a magnate, and 
has great influence among the gentry ; the whole dis- 
trict will rise if he joins the revolt ; knowing his estate, 
every gentleman will say, ' It must be a sure thing, 
since the magnates are in it ; I will join directly/ ' 

44 Let him make the first move," said the Judge, 
44 let him come here, let him beg my pardon* At any 
rate I am older than he, and hold an office ! As for the 
lawsuit, we will refer it to arbitration/' 

The Bernardine slammed the door. 

44 Well, a happy journey to you! " said the Judge. 

The Monk mounted a vehicle standing by the 
threshold, lashed the horses with the whip, tickled their 
sides with the reins, and the carriage flew off and 
vanished in billows of fog ; only now and then the grey 
cowl of the Monk rose above the mist like a vulture 
above the clouds. 

The Apparitor had long ago arrived at the Count's 
house. As an experienced fox, when the scent of bacon 
allures it, runs towards it but bears in mind the secret 
tricks of hunters ; it runs, stops, sits up frequently, 
raises its brush, and with it as with a fan waves the 
breeze to its nostrils, and asks the breeze whether the 
hunters have not poisoned the food : so Protazy left 
the road and circled over the meadow around the house ; 
he twirled his stick in his hand and pretended that he 
had somewhere seen some stray cattle ; thus skilfully 
manoeuvring he arrived close to the garden ; he bent 
down and ran so that you would have said that he was 
trailing a land rail ; then he suddenly jumped over the 
fence and plunged into the hemp. 

In that thick, green, fragrant growth around the 
house there is a sure refuge for beasts and men. Often 


a hare, caught among the cabbages, leaps to find surer 
hiding in the hemp than in the shrubbery, for among the 
close-set stalks no greyhound can catch it, nor fox- 
hound smell it out because of the strong odour* In the 
hemp a serving man, fleeing from the whip or the fist, 
sits quietly until his master has spent his wrath* And 
often even runaway peasant recruits, while the govern- 
ment is tracking them in the woods, are sitting in the 
hemp. And hence at the time of battles, forays, and 
confiscations, each side uses immense exertions to 
occupy a position in the hemp, which commonly extends 
forward to the walls of the mansion, and backward until 
it joins the hop fields, and thus covers their attack and 
retreat from the enemy. 

Protazy, though a bold fellow, felt some terror, for 
the very smell of the leaves called to his mind various 
of his former adventures as apparitor one after another 
of which the hemp had been a witness : how once a 
gentleman of Telsze, Dzindolet, whom he had sum- 
moned to court, had put a pistol against his breast, and 
bidden him crawl under the table and from there bark 
out a recantation of that summons with a dog's voice, 111 
so that the Apparitor had to run full speed for the hemp ; 
how later Wolodkowics, 112 a haughty and insolent 
grandee, who used to break up district diets and violate 
courts of justice, receiving his official summons, had 
torn it into bits, and stationing footmen with clubs at 
the doors, had with his own hand held a bare sword 
over the Apparitor's head, crying : " Either I will cut 
you down or you will eat your paper/' The Apparitor, 
like a cautious man, had pretended to begin to eat it, 
until, stealing up to the window, he had plunged into 
the hemp garden. 


To be sure, at this time it was no longer the custom 
in Lithuania to defend oneself from a summons with 
the sabre or the whip, and an apparitor only got cursed 
now and then for his pains ; but Protazy could not know 
of that change of customs, for it was long since he had 
carried any summons. Though he was always ready, 
though he himself had begged the Judge to let him, up 
till now the Judge, from a due regard for his advanced 
age, had refused his requests ; to-day he had accepted 
his offer because of pressing need. 

The Apparitor gazed and listened all was quiet 
slowly he thrust forward his hand through the hemp, 
and, separating the dense mass of stalks, swam through 
the greenery as a fisherman dives beneath the water. 
He raised his head all was quiet he stole up to the 
windows all was quiet through the windows he 
surveyed the interior of the mansion all was empty. 
He stepped up on the porch, not without terror, and 
undid the latch all was empty as in an enchanted 
house ; he took out his summons, and read aloud the 
notification. But suddenly he heard a clatter, and felt a 
trembling of the heart, and wanted to run away ; when 
from the door theVe came towards him a person luckily 
well known to him ! Robak ! Both were surprised. 

Evidently the Count had departed somewhere with 
all his train, and in a great hurry, for he had left the 
doors open. It was evident that he had been arming 
himself; on the floor lay double-barrelled muskets 
and carbines, besides ramrods and gunhammers and 
locksmith's tools with which they had been repairing 
the arms. There were also gunpowder and paper ; they 
had been making cartridges. Had the Count gone 
hunting with all his train 1 But why should he take 


hand arms t Here lay a rusty, hiltless sabre, there a 
sword with no belt ; they must have been selecting 
weapons from this rubbish, and have ransacked even 
the old armouries. Robak surveyed with care the guns 
and swords, and then went out to the farmhouse to 
explore, looking for servants of whom he might inquire 
about the Count. In the deserted farmhouse he at 
length found two peasant women, from whom he 
learned that the master and his whole household had 
departed in a body, armed, along the road to Dobrzyn. 

The hamlet of Pobrzyn has a wide reputation in 
Lithuania for the bravery of its gentlemen and the beauty 
of its gentlewomen. It was once powerful and populous, 
for when King Jan III. Sobieski had summoned the 
general militia by the " twigs/' 113 the ensign of the 
wojewodeship had led to him from Dobrzyn alone six 
hundred armed gentry. The family had now grown 
small and poor ; formerly at the courts of the magnates 
or in their troops, at forays, and at the district assemblies 
the Dobrzynskis used to find an easy living. Now they 
were forced to work for themselves, like mere serfs, 
except that they did not wear peasants' russet doublets, 
but long white coats with black stripes, and on Sunday 
kontussjes. Also the dress of even the poorest of their 
women was different from the jackets of the peasants ; 
they usually wore drilling or percale, herded their 
cattle in shoes not of bark but of leather, and reaped and 
even spun with gloves on. 

The Dobrzynskis were distinguished among their 
Lithuanian brethren by their language and likewise by 
their stature and their appearance. They were of pure 
Polish blood, and all had black hair, high foreheads, 
black eyes, and aquiline noses* From the land of 


Dobrzyn 114 they derived their ancient family, and, 
though they had been settled in Lithuania for four 
hundred years, they preserved their Masovian speech 
and customs. Whenever any one of them gave his son a 
name at baptism, he always used to choose as a patron 
a saint of the Kingdom, either Bartholomew or Matthias 
[Matyasz]. Thus the son of Maciej was always called 
Bartlomiej, 115 and again the son of Bartlomiej was called 
Maciej ; the women were all christened Kachna or 
Maryna. In order to distinguish themselves amid such 
confusion, they took various nicknames, from some merit 
or defect, both men and women. Sometimes they would 
give a man several surnames, as a mark of the contempt 
or of the regard of his compatriots ; sometimes the same 
gentleman was known by one name in Dobrzyn, and by 
a different title in the neighbouring hamlets. Imitating 
the Dobrzynskis, the rest of the gentry of the vicinity 
likewise assumed nicknames, or by-names. 116 Now 
almost every family employs them, but only a few know 
that they originated in Dobrsyn, and were necessary 
there, while in the rest of the country they became a 
custom through mere stupid imitation. 

So Matyasz Dobrzynski, who was at the head of the 
whole family, had been called Cock-on-the-Steeple. 
Later, after the year seventeen hundred and ninety-four, 
he changed his nickname and was christened Hand- 
on-Hip ; the Dobrzynskis themselves also called him 
Bunny our King, 117 but the Lithuanians styled him 
the Maciek of Macieks. 

As he over the Dobrzynskis, so his house ruled over 
the village, standing between the tavern and the church. 
To all appearances it was rarely visited and mere trash 
lived in it, for at the entrance stood posts without gates, 


and the garden was neither fenced nor planted ; in the 
vegetable beds birches had grown up. Yet this old 
farmhouse seemed the capitol of the village, for it was 
handsomer and more spacious than the other cottages, 
and on the right side, where the living-room was placed, 
it was of brick. Near by were a storehouse, granary, 
barn, cow shed, and stable, all close together, as is 
usually the case among the gentry* The whole was 
uncommonly old and decayed ; the house roofs shone 
as if made of green tin, because of the moss and grass, 
which grew as luxuriantly as on a prairie. The thatches 
of the barns were like hanging gardens of various plants, 
the nettle and the crimson crocus, the yellow mullen 
and the bright-coloured tassels of mercury. In them 
too were nests of various birds ; in the lofts were dove- 
cotes, nests of swallows in the windows ; white rabbits 
hopped about at the threshold and burrowed in the un- 
trodden turf. In a word the place was like a birdcage 
or a warren. 

But of old it had been fortified I Everywhere there 
were plenty of traces that it had undergone great and 
frequent attacks. Near the gateway there still lay in the 
grass a relic of the Swedish invasion, an iron cannon 
ball, as large as a child's head ; once the open gate had 
rested on that ball as on a stone. In the yard, among the 
weeds and the wormwood, rose the old stumps of some 
dozen crosses, on unconsecrated ground, a sign that 
here lay buried men who had perished by a sudden and 
unexpected death. When one eyed from close by the 
storehouse, granary, and cottage, he saw that the walls 
were peppered from ground to summit as with a swarm 
of black insects ; in the centre of each spot sat a bullet, 
like a bumble-bee in its earthy burrow. 


On the doors of the establishment all the latches, 
nails, and hooks were either cut off or bore the marks 
of sabres ; evidently here they had tested the temper 
of those swords of the time of the Sigismunds, with 
which one might boldly cut off the heads of nails or 
cleave hooks in two without making a notch in the 
blade. Over the doors could be seen coats of arms of 
the Dobrzynskis, but shelves of cheeses veiled the 
bearings, and swallows had walled them in thickly with 
their nests. 

The interior of the house itself and of the stable and 
carriage-house you would find as full of accoutrements 
as an old armoury. Under the roof hung four immense 
helmets, the ornaments of martial brows ; to-day the 
birds of Venus, the doves, cooing, fed their young in 
them. In the stable a great cuirass extended over the 
manger and a corselet of ring mail served as a chute 
through which the boy threw down clover to the colts. 
In the kitchen the godless cook had spoiled the temper 
of several swords by sticking them into the oven instead 
of spits ; with a Turkish horsetail, captured at Vienna, 
she dusted her handmill. In a word, housewifely Ceres 
had banished Mars and ruled along with Pomona, Flora, 
and Vertumnus over Dobrzynski's house, stable, and 
barn. But to-day the goddesses must yield anew ; Mars 

At daybreak there had appeared in Dobrzyn a 
mounted messenger ; he galloped from cottage to 
cottage and awoke them as if to work for the manor : 
the gentry arose and filled with a crowd the streets of 
the hamlet ; cries were heard in the tavern, candles 
seen in the priest's house. All were running about, 
each asked the other what this meant ; the old men 
took counsel together, the young men saddled their 


horses while the women held them ; the boys scuffled 
about, in a hurry to run and fight, but did not know 
with whom or about what ! Willy-nilly, they had to 
stay behind. In the priest's dwelling there was in pro- 
gress a long, tumultuous, frightfully confused debate ; 
at last, not being able to agree, they finally decided to 
lay the whole matter before Father Maciej. 

Seventy-two years of age was Maciej, a hale old man, 
of low stature, a former Confederate of Bar. 118 Both his 
friends and his enemies remembered his curved dama- 
scened sabre, with which he was wont to chop spears 
and bayonets like fodder, and to which in jest he had 
given the modest name of switch. From a Confederate 
he became a partisan of the King, and supported Tyzen- 
haus, 119 the Under-Treasurer of Lithuania; but when 
the King joined the men of Targowica, Maciej once more 
deserted the royal side. And hence, since he had passed 
through so many parties, he had long been called Cock- 
on-the-Steeple, because like a cock he turned his standard 
with the wind. You would in vain search for the cause 
of such frequent changes ; perhaps Maciej was too fond 
of war, and, when conquered on one side, sought battle 
anew on the other ; perhaps the shrewd politician 
judged well the spirit of the times, and turned whither 
he thought the good of his country called him. 120 Who 
knows ! This much is sure, that never was he seduced 
either by desire for personal fame, or by base greed, and 
that never had he supported the Muscovite party ; for 
at the very sight of a Muscovite he frothed and grimaced. 
In order not to meet a Muscovite, after the partition of 
the country, he sat at home like a bear that sucks its 
paw in the woods. 

His last experience in war was when he went with 
Oginski m to Wilno, where they both served under 


Jasinski, and there with his switch he performed prodi- 
gies of valour. Everybody knew how he had jumped 
down alone from the ramparts of Praga to defend Pan 
Pociej, 122 who had been deserted on the field of battle 
and had received twenty-three wounds* In Lithuania 
they long thought that both had been killed ; but both 
returned, each as full of holes as a sieve. Pan Pociej, an 
honourable man, immediately after the war had wished 
to reward generously his defender Dobrsynski ; he had 
offered him for life a farm of five houses, and assigned 
him yearly a thousand ducats in gold. But Dobrzynski 
wrote back : " Let Pociej remain in debt to Maciej, and 
not Maciej to Pociej/' So he refused the farm and would 
not take the money ; returning home alone, he lived by 
the work of his own hands, making hives for bees and 
medicine for cattle, sending to market partridges which 
he caught in snares, and hunting wild beasts. 

In Dobrzyn there were numbers of sagacious old men 
men versed in Latin, who from their youth up had 
practised at the bar ; there were numbers of richer men : 
but of all the family the poor and simple Maciek was 
the most highly honoured, not only as a swordsman 
made famous by his switch, but as a man of wise and 
sure judgment, who knew the history of the country 
and the traditions of the family, and was equally well 
versed in law and farming. He knew likewise the secrets 
of hunting and of medicine ; they even ascribed to him 
(though this the priest denied) a knowledge of higher, 
superhuman things. This much is sure, that he knew 
with precision the changes of the weather, and could 
guess them oftener than the farmer's almanac. It is no 
marvel then that, whether it was a question of beginning 
the sowing, or of sending out the river barges, or of 
reaping the grain ; whether it was a matter of going to 


law, or of concluding a compromise, nothing was done in 
Dobrzyn without the advice of Maciek. Such influence 
the old man did not in the least seek for ; on the con- 
trary, he wished to be rid of it, scolded his clients, and 
usually pushed them out of the door of his house without 
opening his lips ; he rarely gave advice, and never to 
common men ; only in extremely important disputes or 
agreements, when asked, would he utter an opinion 
and then in few words. It was thought that he would 
undertake to-day's affair and put himself in person at 
the head of the expedition ; for in his youth he had 
loved a combat beyond measure, and he was an enemy 
of the Muscovite race. 

The aged man was walking about in his solitary yard, 
humming a song, " When the early dawn ariseth," 12S 
and was happy because the weather was clearing ; the 
mist was not rising up as it usually does when clouds 
are gathering, but kept falling : the wind spread forth 
its palms and stroked the mist, smoothed it, and spread 
it on the meadow ; meanwhile the sun from on high 
with a thousand beams pierced the web, silvered it, 
gilded it, made it rosy. As when a pair of workmen at 
Sluck are making a Polish girdle ; a girl at the base of 
the loom smooths and presses the web with her hands, 
while the weaver throws her from above threads of 
silver, gold and purple, forming colours and flowers : 
thus to-day the wind spread all the earth with mist and 
the sun embroidered it. 

Maciej was warming himself in the sun after finishing 
his prayers, and was already setting about his house- 
hold work. He brought out grass and leaves ; he sat 
down in front of his house and whistled : at this whistle 
a multitude of rabbits bobbed up from beneath the 
ground. Like narcissuses suddenly blooming above 


the grass, their long ears shine white ; beneath them 
their bright eyes glitter like bloody rubies thickly sown 
in the velvet of the greensward. Now the rabbits sit up, 
and each listens and gazes around ; finally the whole 
white, furry herd run to the old man, allured by leaves 
of cabbage ; they jump to his feet, on his knees, on his 
shoulders : himself white as a rabbit, he loves to gather 
them around him and stroke their warm fur with his 
hand ; but with his other hand he throws millet on the 
grass for the sparrows, and the noisy rabble drop from 
the roofs* 

While the aged man was amusing himself with the 
sight of this gathering, suddenly the rabbits vanished 
into the earth, and the flocks of sparrows fled to the roof 
before new guests, who were coming into the yard with 
quick steps. These were the envoys whom the assembly 
of gentry at the priest's house had sent to consult 
Maciek. Greeting the old man from afar with low bows, 
they said : " Praised be Jesus Christ/' " For ever 
and ever, amen," 124 answered the old man ; and, when 
he had learned of the importance of the embassy, he 
asked them into his cottage. They entered and sat 
down upon a bench. The first of the envoys took his 
stand in the centre and began to render an account of 
his mission. 

Meanwhile more and more of the gentry were arriv- 
ing ; almost all the Dobrzynskis, and no few of the 
neighbours from the hamlets near by, armed and un- 
armed, in carts and in carriages, on foot and on horse- 
back. They halted their vehicles, tied their nags to the 
birches, and, curious as to the outcome of the delibera- 
tions, they formed a circle about the house : they soon 
filled the room and thronged the vestibule ; others 
listened with their heads crowded into the windows. 



Salutary counsels of Bartek, called the Prussian Martial argument of 
Maciek the Sprinkler Political argument of Pan Buchmann 
Jankiel advises harmony, which is cut off abruptly by the penknife 
Speech of Gerwazy, which makes apparent the great potency of 
parliamentary eloquence Protest of old Maciek The sudden 
arrival of reinforcements interrupts the consultation Down with 
the Soplica ! 

IT came the turn of the deputy Bartek to state his case. 
He was a man who often travelled with rafts to Konigs- 
berg ; he was called the Prussian by the members of his 
family, in jest, for he hated the Prussians horribly, 
although he loved to talk of them. He was a man well 
advanced in years, who on his distant travels had learned 
much of the world ; a diligent reader of gazettes, well 
versed in politics, he could cast no little light on the 
subject under discussion. Thus he concluded his 
speech : 

* This is not, Pan Maciej, my brother, and revered 
father of us all this is not aid to be despised. I should 
rely on the French in time of war as on four aces ; they 
are a warlike people, and since the times of Thaddeus 
Kosciuszko the world has not had such a military genius 
as the great Emperor Bonaparte. I remember when the 
French crossed the Warta ; I was on a trip abroad at the 
time, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and six ; I was just then doing some trading with 
Dantzic, and, since I have many kinsmen in the district 


of Posen, I had gone to visit them. So it happened that 
Pan Joseph Grabowski 125 and I he is now colonel of a 
regiment, but at that time he was living in the country 
near Obiezierz were out hunting small game together* 
" In Great Poland 126 there was then peace, as there is 
now in Lithuania ; suddenly the tidings spread abroad 
of a fearful battle ; a messenger from Pan Todwen 
rushed up to us. Grabowski read the letter and cried : 
* Jena ! Jena 1 127 The Prussians are smitten hip and 
thigh ; victory ! ' Dismounting from my horse, I 
immediately fell on my knees to thank the Lord God. 
We rode back to the city as if on business, as if we knew 
nothing of the matter ; there we saw that all the landraths, 
hofraths, commissioners and all similar rubbish were 
bowing low to us ; they all trembled and turned pale, 
like those cockroaches we call Prussians, when one pours 
boiling water on them. Laughing and rubbing our hands 
we asked humbly for news, and inquired what they had 
heard from Jena. Thereupon terror seized them, they 
were astonished that we already knew of that disaster. 
The Germans cried, ' Ach Herri Gott ! O Weh ! ' and, 
hanging their heads, they ran into their houses, and 
then pell-mell out of their houses again. O that was a 
scramble ! All the roads in Great Poland were full of 
fugitives ; the Germans crawled along them like ants, 
dragging their carts, or rather waggons and drays, as the 
people call them there ; men and women, with pipes and 
coffee-pots, were dragging boxes and feather beds ; they 
scuttled off as best they could. But we quietly took 
counsel together : ' To horse ! Let us harass the retreat 
of the Germans ; now we will give it to the landraths 
in the neck, cut chops from the hofraths, and catch the 
herr officers by the cues/ And now General Dom- 


browski entered the district of Posen and brought the 
orders of the Emperor to stir up an insurrection ! In 
one week our people so whipped and banished the 
Prussians that you couldn't have found a German to 
make medicine of ! 128 What if we could turn the trick 
just as briskly and smartly now, and here in Lithuania 
give the Muscovites just such another sweating 4 Hey ** 
What think you, Maciej 4 If Moscow picks a bone with 
Bonaparte, then he will make a war that will be no joke : 
he is the foremost hero in the world, and has armies 
unnumbered ! Hey, what think you, Maciej, our Father 
Bunny < " 

He concluded. All awaited the verdict of Maciej. 
Maciej did not move his head or raise his eyes, but only 
struck himself several times on the side, as though he 
were feeling for his sabre. (Since the partition of the 
country he had worn no sabre ; however, from old habit, 
at the mention of a Muscovite he always clapped his 
hand to his left side ; he was evidently groping for his 
switch ; and hence everybody called him Hand-on-Hip.) 
Now he raised his head, and they listened in deep silence. 
Maciej disappointed the general expectation ; he only 
frowned and again dropped his head on his breast. 
Finally he spoke out, pronouncing every word slowly 
and with emphasis, and nodding his head in time with 
them : 

" Silence ! Whence comes all this news t How far 
off are the French { Who is their leader ^ Have they 
already begun war with Moscow t Where and on what 
pretext t Which way are they going to move t and with 
what numbers are they coming i Have they a large 
force of infantry and cavalry t Whoever knows, let him 
tell I " 



The crowd was silent, each man gazing at his neigh- 

44 I should be glad/' said the Prussian, " to wait for the 
Bernardine Robak, for all the tidings come from him* 
Meanwhile we should send trusty spies across the 
border and quietly arm all the country round ; but 
meanwhile we should conduct the whole matter with 
caution, in order not to betray our intentions to the 

44 Hah ! Wait, prate, debate t " interrupted another 
Maciej, christened Sprinkler, 129 from a great club that 
he called his sprinkling-brush ; he had it with him to-day. 
He stood behind it, rested both hands on the knob, and 
leaned his chin on his hands, crying : * 4 Delay, wait, 
debate ! Hem, hum, haw, and then run away ! I have 
never been in Prussia ; Konigsberg sense is good for 
Prussia, but I have my plain gentleman's sense* This 
much I know : whoever wants to fight, let him seize his 
sprinkling-brush ; whoever prefers to die, let him call 
the priest that's all ! I want to live and fight ! Of 
what use is the Bernardine t Are we schoolboys ** 
What do I care for that Robak.' Now we will all be 
Robaks, that is, worms, and proceed to gnaw at the 
Muscovites ! Hem, haw ! spies ! to explore ! Do you 
know what that means t Why, that you are impotent 
old beggars ! Hey, brothers ! It is a setter's work to 
follow a trail, a Bernardine 's to gather alms, but my 
work is to sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle, and that's all ! " 

Here he patted his club ; after him the whole crowd 
of gentry yelled, " Sprinkle, sprinkle 1 " 

The side of Sprinkler was supported by Bartek, 
called Razor from his thin sabre ; and likewise by 
Maciej, known as Bucket, from a blunderbuss that he 


carried, with a muzzle so broad that from it as from a 
pail a thousand bullets poured in a stream. Both cried, 
" Long live Sprinkler and his brush." The Prussian 
tried to speak, but he was drowned by uproar and 
laughter. " Away, away with the Prussian cowards/' 
they shouted ; "let cowards go and hide in Bernardine 

Then once more old Maciej slowly raised his head, 
and the tumult began somewhat to subside. 

44 Do not scoff at Robak," he said ; " I know him ; 
he is a clever priest. That little worm 18 has gnawed 
a larger nut than you ; I have seen him but once, but 
as soon as I set eyes on him I noticed what sort of bird 
he was ; the Monk turned away his eyes, fearing that I 
might summon him to confession. But that is not my 
affair of that there would be much to say I He will not 
come here ; it would be vain to summon die Bernardine. 
If all this news came from him, then who knows what 
was his object, for he is the devil of a priest ! If you 
know nothing more than this news, then why did you 
come here, and what do you want t " 

" War ! " they cried. " What war i " he asked. " War 
with the Muscovites ! " they shouted, " to fight ! Down 
with the Muscovites ! " 

The Prussian kept shouting and raising his voice 
higher and higher, until he finally obtained a hearing, 
which he owed partly to his polite bows, and partly to 
his shrill and piercing tones. 

" I too want to fight," he shouted, pounding his breast 
with his fist ; " though I don't carry a sprinkling-brush, 
yet with a pole from a river barge I once gave a good 
christening to four Prussians who tried to drown me in 
the Pregel when I was drunk." 


44 Good for you, Bartek," said Sprinkler, " good for 
you ; sprinkle, sprinkle ! " 

44 But in the name of the most dear Jesus, we must 
first know with whom the war is and about what ; we 
must proclaim that to the world/' shouted the Prussian, 
44 for what is going to make the people follow us t Where 
they are to go, and when, and how, we do not know 
ourselves. Brother gentlemen, we need discretion ! 
My friends, we need order and method ! If you wish 
war, let us make a confederacy, 131 and discuss where 
to form it and under whose leadership. That was the 
way in Great Poland we saw the retreat of the Germans, 
and what did we do ** We consulted secretly together ; 
we armed both the gentry and a company of peasants ; 
and, when we were ready, we waited Dombrowski's 
orders ; at last, to horse ! We rose as one man ! " 

44 1 beg the floor/' called out the manager of Kleck, 
a spruce young man, dressed in German costume. His 
name was Buchmann, but he was a Pole, born in 
Poland ; it was not quite certain that he was of gentle 
birth, but of that they asked no questions, and every- 
body respected Buchmann, because he was in service 
with a great magnate, was a good patriot, and full of 
learning. From foreign books he had learned the art 
of farming, and conducted well the administration of 
his estate ; on politics he had also formed wise opinions ; 
he knew how to write beautifully and how to express 
himself with elegance : therefore all became silent when 
he began to discourse. 

44 I beg the floor/' he repeated ; he twice cleared his 
throat, bowed, and with tuneful lips thus proceeded : 

44 My predecessors in their eloquent speeches have 
touched on all the principal and decisive points, and 


have raised the discussion to a higher plane ; it only 
remains for me to unite into one focus the pertinent 
thoughts and considerations that have been put forward : 
I have the hope of thus reconciling contrary opinions* I 
have noted that the entire discussion consists of two 
parts ; the division is already made, and that division I 
follow. First : why should we undertake an insurrec- 
tion ^ in what spirit ^ That is the first vital question. 
The second concerns the revolutionary authority. The 
division is a proper one, only I wish to reverse it, and 
begin with the authority : when once we understand the 
authority, from it I will deduce the nature, spirit, and 
aim of the insurrection. As for the authority then 
when I survey with my eyes the history of all humanity, 
what do I perceive therein 4 Why, that the human race, 
savage, and scattered in forests, gathers together, col- 
lects, unites for common defence, and considers it; 
that is its first consultation. Then each lays aside a 
part of his own liberty for the common good ; that is 
the first foundation, from which, as from a spring, flow 
all laws. We see then that government is created by 
agreement, and does not proceed, as men erroneously 
hold, from the will of God. Thus, since government 
rests upon the social contract, the division of power 
is only its necessary consequence." 

44 So there you are at contracts ! Do you mean those 
of Kiev or of Minsk S"' 182 said old Maciej. 4t You 
must mean the Babin government ! 188 Pan Buchmann, 
whether God or the devil chose to cast the Tsar upon 
us I will not dispute with Your Honour ; Pan Buch- 
mann, tell us, please, how to cast off the Tsar." 

4 There's the rub," shouted Sprinkler ; " if I could 
only jump to the throne, and with my brush splash 


once moisten the Tsar, then he wouldn't come back, 
either through the Kiev tract or the Minsk tract, or by 
any one of Buchmann 's contracts ; the Russian priests 
would not revive him either by the power of God or by 
that of Beelzebub the only brave way is to sprinkle. 
Pan Buchmann, your speech was very eloquent, but 
eloquence is nothing but noise ; sprinkling is the prin- 
cipal thing/' 

44 Good, good, good ! " squealed Bartek the Razor, 
rubbing his hands, and running from Sprinkler to 
Maciek like a shuttle thrown from one side of the loom 
to the other. " Only do you, Maciek of the switch, and 
you, Maciek of the club, make up your disagreement, 
and, so help me Heaven, we will knock the Muscovites 
to splinters ; Razor advances under the orders of 

44 Orders are good on parade," interrupted Sprinkler. 
44 We had a standing order in the Kowno brigade, a 
short and pointed one : 4 Strike terror and be not 
terrified ; fight and do not surrender ; advance always, 
and make quick strokes, slish, slash ! ' " 

44 Those are my principles," squealed Razor. 44 What's 
the use of spilling ink and drawing up acts of confedera- 
tion t Do you want one t That's the whole question. 
Maciej is our marshal and his little switch is his baton 
of office." 

44 Long live Cock-on-the-Steeple ! " shouted Baptist. 
The gentry answered, 44 Vivant the sprinklers ! " 

But in the corners a murmur had arisen, though it 
was stifled in the centre ; evidently the council was 
dividing into two sides. Buchmann shouted : 44 I will 
never approve an agreement ; that's my system." 
Somebody else yelled 44 Veto," 184 and others seconded 


him from the corners. Finally the gruff voice of Skoluba 
was heard, a gentleman from another hamlet* 

" What is this, my friends of the Dobrzynski family t 
What does all this mean i How about us, shall we be 
deprived of our rights i When we were invited from 
our hamlet and the Warden, My-boy Rembajlo in- 
vited us we were told that great things were to be 
done, that the question did not affect the Dobrzynskis 
alone, but the whole district, the entire gentry ; Robak 
mumbled the same thing, though he never finished 
his talk and always stammered and expressed himself 
obscurely. Well, finally we have gathered, and have 
called in our neighbours by messengers. You Dobrzyn- 
skis are not the only men here ; from various other 
hamlets there are about two hundred of us here ; so 
let us all consult together. If we need a marshal, let 
us all vote, with an equal voice for each ; long live 
equality ! " 

Then two Terajewiczes and four Stypulkowskis and 
three Mickiewiczes shouted, " Vivat equality," taking 
the side of Skoluba. Meanwhile Buchmann was crying, 
44 Agreement will be our ruin ! " Sprinkler yelled : 
u We can get along alone without you ; long live our 
marshal, the Maciek of Macieks ! Let him have the 
baton ! " The Dobrzynskis cried, " We beg you to 
take it ! " but the rest of the gentry shouted with one 
voice, " We forbid it ! " The throng was breaking up 
into two groups, and, nodding their heads in contrary 
directions, one faction cried, " We forbid," and the 
other, " We beg you/' 

Old Maciek sat in their midst the one dumb man, 
and his head alone was unmoved. Opposite him stood 
Baptist, resting his hands on his club, and, moving his 


head, which was supported on the end of the club, like 
a pumpkin stuck on the end of a long pole, he nodded it, 
now forward and now backward, and cried incessantly, 
" Sprinkle, sprinkle ! " Up and down the room the 
mobile Razor ran constantly from Sprinkler to Maciej's 
bench, but Bucket slowly walked across the room from 
the Dobrzynskis to the other gentry, as if he were 
trying to reconcile them. One shouted continually, 
" Shave/' and the other, " Pour " ; Maciek held his 
peace, but he was evidently beginning to be angry. 

For a quarter of an hour the uproar seethed, when 
above the bawling crowd, out of the throng of heads, 
there leapt aloft a shining pillar. This was a sword two 
yards long and a whole palm broad, sharp on both 
edges. Evidently it was a German sword, forged of 
Nuremberg steel ; all gazed at the weapon in silence. 
Who had raised it up t They could not see, but at once 
they guessed. 

" That is the penknife, long live the penknife ! " 
they shouted ; " vivat the penknife, the jewel 135 of 
Rembajlo hamlet ! Vivat Rembajlo, Notchy, Half-Goat, 
My-boy ! " 

At once Gerwazy, for it was he, pressed through the 
crowd into the middle of the room, carrying his flashing 
penknife ; then, lowering the point before Maciek as 
a sign of greeting, he said : 

" The penknife bows to the switch. Brothers, gentle- 
men of Dobrzyn, I will give you no advice. Not at all ; 
I will only tell you why I have assembled you ; but what 
to do and how to do it, decide for yourselves. You 
know the rumour has long been current among the 
hamlets that great things are preparing in the world. 
Father Robak has been talking of this ; do not you all 


know this < " (" We know it," they shouted.) " Well, 
so for a wise head/' continued the orator, looking 
sharply at them, " two words are enough. Is not that 
true < " (" It is/' they said.) " Since the French 
Emperor is coming from one direction/' said the 
Warden, " and the Russian Tsar from the other, there 
will be war ; the Tsar and the Emperor, kings and kings, 
will start to pummel one another as monarchs usually 
do and shall we sit quiet t When the great begin to 
choke the great, let us choke the smaller, each his own 
man. When we sfet to smiting above and below, great 
men great ones, and small men small ones, then all the 
rascals will be overthrown, and thus happiness and the 
Polish Commonwealth will bloom again. Is not this 


" As true as if you were reading it out of a book," 
they said. 

44 It is true ! " repeated Baptist, " drop after drop, 
every bit." 

" I am always ready to shave ! " exclaimed Razor. 

" Only make an agreement," courteously begged 
Bucket, " under whose leadership Baptist and Maciej 
shall proceed." 

But Buchmann interrupted him : " Let fools agree ; 
discussions do not harm the common weal. I beg you 
to be silent." (" We are listening.") " The case gains 
thereby ; the Warden is considering it from a new 
point of view." 

M Not at all," shouted the Warden, 4i I follow the old 
fashion. Of great things great men should think ; for 
them there is an Emperor, and there will be a King, a 
Senate, and Deputies. Such things, my boy, are done 
in Cracow or in Warsaw, not here among us, in the 


hamlet of Dobrzyn. Acts of confederation are not 
written on a chimney with chalk, nor on a river barge, 
but on parchment ; it is not for us to write such acts. 
Poland has the secretaries of the Kingdom and of 
Lithuania ; such was the ancient custom : my business 
is to whittle with my penknife/' 

44 To sprinkle with my brush," added Sprinkler* 

44 And to bore with my awl/' cried Bartek the Awl, 
drawing his sword. 

44 I summon you all to witness/' concluded the 
Warden ; 44 did not Robak tell you, that before you 
receive Napoleon into your house you should sweep 
out the dirt t You all heard it, but do you understand t 
Who is the dirt of the district t Who traitorously killed 
the best of Poles ; who robbed and plundered him t 
Who* 1 Must I tell you < " 

44 Why, it is Soplica," interrupted Bucket ; " and 
now he even wants to snatch the remnants from the 
hands of the heir ; he is a scoundrel." 

44 O, he is a tyrant ! " squealed Razor. 

44 Then sprinkle him ! " added Baptist. 

44 If he is a traitor," said Buchmann, 44 to the gallows 
with him ! " 

44 Hurrah ! " they all cried, 44 down with Soplica ! " 

But the Prussian ventured to undertake the defence 
of the Judge, and cried with arms held up towards the 
gentry : - 

44 Brother gentlemen ! O ! O ! By God's wounds, 
what means this 1 Warden, are you mad t Was it this 
we were discussing t Because a man had a crazy, 
outlaw brother, shall we punish him on his brother's 
account i That is a Christian way of doing things ! 
The Count is behind all this. As for the Judge's being 


hard on the gentry, that is not true I In Heaven's name ! 
Why, it is you who summon him to court, but he always 
seeks a peaceful settlement with you ; he yields his 
rights and even pays the costs. He has a lawsuit with 
the Count, but what of that t Both are rich ; let mag- 
nate fight magnate : what do we people care t The 
Judge a tyrant ! He was the first to forbid that the 
peasants should bow low before him, saying that that 
was a sin. Often a company of peasants I have seen 
this myself sit at table with him ; he has paid the 
taxes for the village, and it is quite different at Kleck, 
though there, Pan Buchmann, you run things in German 
fashion* The Judge a traitor ! I have known him since 
we were in the primary school ; as a lad he was honest, 
and to-day he is the same ; he loves Poland above 
everything, he keeps up Polish customs, he will not 
yield to Muscovite fashions. Whenever I return from 
Prussia, and want to wash off the German taint, I drop 
in at Soplicowo, as the centre of Polish ways ; there a 
man drinks and breathes his Country ! In God's name, 
brothers Dobrsynski ; I am one of you, but I will not 
let the Judge be wronged ; nothing will come of that* 
It was not thus in Great Poland, brothers : what a 
spirit ! what harmony ! It is pleasant to remember it ! 
There no one dared to interrupt our counsels with such 
a trifle." 

" It is no trifle to hang scoundrels ! " shouted the 

The murmur was increasing. Suddenly Jankiel asked 
a hearing, jumped on a bench, took his stand on it, and 
thus raised above their heads a beard like a tavern bush, 
which hung down to his belt. With his right hand he 
slowly took from his head his foxskin hat, with his left 


he adjusted his disordered skull-cap ; then he tucked 
his right hand in his girdle and spoke thus, bowing low 
to all with his foxskin hat : 

" Well, gentlemen of Dobrzyn, I am nothing but 
a Jew ; the Judge is no kith or kin of mine ; I respect 
the Soplicas as very good gentlemen and my landlords ; 
I respect also the Bartek and Maciej Dobrzynskis, as 
good neighbours and my benefactors ; but I say thus : 
if you want to do violence to the Judge, that is very 
bad ; some of you may get hurt and be killed. But how 
about the assessors ** and the police-captain t and the 
prison ** For in the village near Soplica's house there 
are heaps of soldiers, all yagers ! The Assessor is at the 
house ; he need only whistle, and they will march right 
up and stand there ready for action. And what will 
happen then ^ But if you are expecting the French, why 
the French are still far off, a long road* I'm a Jew and 
know nothing of war, but I have been in Bielica, where I 
met Jews straight from the boundary. The report is 
that the French were stationed on the river Lososna, 
and that if there is to be war, it will not come till spring. 
Well, I tell you, wait ; the farm of Soplicowo is not a 
fair booth, that is taken apart, put in a waggon, and 
carried off ; the farm will stand as it is until spring. And 
the Judge is no Jew in a rented tavern ; he won't run 
away, you can find him in the spring. But now pray 
disperse, and don't speak aloud of what has occurred, 
for to talk of it will do no good. And I beg you all, kind 
gentlemen, follow me : my Sarah has given birth to a 
little Jankiel, and to-day I treat the crowd ; and the 
music is splendid ! I will order bagpipes, a bass viol, 
and two fiddles ; and Pan Maciek, my friend, likes old 
July mead and a new mazurka, I have new mazurkas, 
and I have taught my kids to sing just fine/' 


The eloquence of the universally beloved Jankiel 
touched the hearts of his hearers ; there arose cries 
and exclamations of joy ; the murmur of approbation 
was even spreading beyond the house, when Gerwazy 
aimed his penknife at Jankiel. The Jew jumped down 
and disappeared in the crowd ; the Warden shouted : 

" Begone, Jew, don't stick your fingers into the door ; 
this is not your business ! Prussian, because you, sir, 
conduct your trading with the Judge's pair of miserable 
boats, are you shouting for him t Have you forgotten, 
my boy, that your respected father used to make the 
trip to Prussia with* twenty Horeszko boats ^ Thence 
he and his family grew rich ; yes, and every one of 
you that are living here in Dobrzyn. For you old men 
remember, and you young men have heard, that the 
Pantler was the father and benefactor of you all. Whom 
did he send as manager to his Pinsk estates ** A Dobrzyn- 
ski. Who were his accountants t Dobrzynskis. He chose 
none for majordomos and none for butlers except 
Dobrzynskis ; his house was full of Dobrzynskis. He 
pressed your cases before the courts, he gained pensions 
for you from the king ; he put your children by droves 
in the Piarist ** schools, and paid for their clothes, board, 
and lodging; when they grew up he even got places 
for them, also at his own expense. Why did he do this t 
Because he was your neighbour. To-day Soplica's 
landmarks touch your borders ; what good has he ever 
done you t " 

" Not a bit 1 " interrupted Bucket, " for he is an up- 
start that rose from being a petty landholder. But how 
haughtily he blows out his cheeks, pooh, pooh, pooh; 
how high he holds his head ! You remember, I invited 
him to my daughter's wedding ; I offered him drink, 


but he wouldn't take it ; he said : * I don't drink as 
much as you gentry ; you gentry swill like bitterns/ 
What a magnate ! a milksop made of pastry flour ! 187 
He wouldn't drink, so we poured it down his throat ; 
he cried, ' This is an act of violence ! ' Just wait ; I'll 
pour it into him out of my bucket ! " 

" The knave ! " exclaimed Baptist ; " I'll just sprinkle 
him on my own account* My son used to be a clever 
lad ; now he's turned so stupid that they call him 
Buzzard, 138 and he has become such a ninny all because 
of the Judge. I said to him once, ' What do you run 
off to Soplicowo for t If I catch you there, God help 
you ! ' Immediately he slunk off to Zosia again, and 
stole through the hemp ; I caught him, and then took 
him by the ears and sprinkled him* But he blubbered and 
blubbered like a peasant's baby : ' Father, you may kill 
me, but I must go there!' and he kept on sobbing* 
' What's the matter with you 1 ' I asked, and he told me 
that he was in love with Zosia, and wanted to have a look 
at her ! I felt sorry for the poor lad, and said to the Judge : 
' Judge, give me Zosia for Buzzard.' ' She is still too 
young,' he answered. ' Wait about three years, and then 
she may do as she likes.' The scoundrel ! He lies ; 
he's already arranging another match for her. I have 
heard of it ; just let me screw myself in there at the 
wedding, and I'll bless their marriage bed with my 

" And shall such a scoundrel hold sway," cried the 
Warden, " and ruin ancient magnates, better men than 
he t And shall both the memory and the name of the 
Horeszkos perish ! Where is there gratitude in the 
world 1 There is none in Dobrzyn. Brothers, do you 
wish to wage war with the Russian Emperor and yet 


do you fear a battle with Soplicowo farm i Are you 
afraid of prison ! Do I summon you to brigandage 1 
God forbid ! Gentlemen and brothers, I stand on my 
rights. Why, the Count has won several times and has 
obtained no few decrees ; the only trouble is to execute 
them ! This was the ancient custom : the court wrote 
the decree, and the gentry carried it out, and especially 
the Dobrzynskis, and thence grew your fame in Lithu- 
ania ! Yes, at the foray of Mysz the Dobrzynskis alone 
fought with the Muscovites, who were led by the 
Russian general Voynilovich, and that scoundrel, his 
friend, Pan Wolk of Logomowicze. You remember 
how we took Wolk captive, and how we were going to 
hang him to a beam in the barn, because he was a 
tyrant to the peasantry and a servant of the Muscovites ; 
but the stupid peasants took pity on him ! (I must 
roast him some time on this penknife.) I will not men- 
tion countless other great forays, from which we always 
emerged as befitted gentlemen, both with profit and 
with general applause and glory ! Why should I remind 
you of this ! To-day the Count, your neighbour, carries 
on his lawsuit and gains decrees in vain, for not one of 
you is willing to aid the poor orphan ! The heir of that 
Pantler who nourished hundreds, to-day has no friend 
except me, his Warden, and except this faithful pen- 
knife of mine I " 

" And my brush," said Sprinkler* " Where you go, 
dear Gerwazy, there will I go too, while I have a hand, 
and while this splish-splash is in my hands. Two are 
a pair ! In Heaven's name, my Gerwazy ! You have 
your sword, I have my sprinkling-brush ! In Heaven's 
name, I will sprinkle, and do you strike ; and thus 
slish and slash, splish and splash ; let others prate ! " 


" But, my brothers/' said Rasor, " you will not 
exclude Bartek ; all that you may soap I will shave," 

" I too prefer to move on with you/' added Bucket, 
" since I cannot make them agree on the choice of a 
marshal. What care I for votes and balls for voting 1 
I have other balls/' (Here he took from his pocket a 
handful of bullets and rattled them.) " Here are balls ! " 
he cried, " all these balls are for the Judge ! " 

" We will join you/' shouted Skoluba, " indeed we 
will ! " 

44 Where you go," cried all the gentry, " where you 
go, there will we go also ! Long live the Horesskos ! 
Vivant the Half-Goats ! Vivat the Warden Rembajlo ! 
Down with the Soplica ! " 

And thus the eloquent Gerwazy carried them all 
away, for all had their grudges against the Judge, as is 
usual among neighbours ; now complaints of damage 
done by cattle, now for the cutting of wood, now 
squabbles over boundary lines : some were aroused by 
anger, others merely by envy for the wealth of the 
Judge all were united by hatred* They crowded about 
the Warden, and raised aloft sabres and sticks. 

At last Maciek, hitherto sullen and motionless, rose 
from his bench and with slow steps came out into the 
middle of the room and put his hands on his hips : 
looking straight before him and nodding his head, 
he began to speak, pronouncing slowly every word, 
pausing between them and emphasising them : 

" O stupid, stupid idiots ! Whoever dances, you will 
pay the piper. So long as the discussion was over the 
resurrection of Poland and had to do with the public 
weal, idiots, all this time you quarrelled ! It was impos- 
sible, idiots, either to debate, idiots, or to get order 


among you, or to put a leader over you, idiots ! But let 
any one raise his private grudges, idiots, then straight- 
way you agree 1 Get out of here ! for, as my name is 
Maciek, I wish you to millions, hundreds of hundreds 
of thousands of waggons of hogsheads, of drays of 
devils Ml" 

All were hushed as if struck by lightning ! But at 
the same moment a terrible shouting arose outside the 
house, " Vivat the Count ! " He was riding into Maciej's 
yard, armed himself, and followed by ten armed jockeys. 
The Count was mounted on a mettled steed and dressed 
in black garments ; over them a nut-brown cloak of 
Italian cut, broad and without sleeves, and fastened at 
the neck with a buckle, fell from his shoulders like a 
great shroud. He wore a round hat with a feather, and 
carried a sword in his hand ; he wheeled about and 
saluted the throng with the sword. 

44 Vivat the Count ! " they cried ; " we will live and 
die with him ! " The gentry began to gaze out of the 
cottage through the windows, and to press continually 
towards the door behind the Warden. The Warden 
went out, and behind him the crowd tumbled through 
the door ; Maciek drove out the remnant, shut the door, 
bolted it, and, looking out through the window, said 
once more, " Idiots ! " 

But meanwhile the gentry had rallied to the Count. 
They went to the tavern ; Gerwazy called to mind the 
days of old, and bade them give him three Polish girdles, 
by means of which he drew from the vaults of the tavern 
three casks, one of mead, the second of brandy, and the 
third of beer. He took out the spigots, and immediately 
three streamlets spurted forth, gurgling, one white as 
silver, the second red as carnelian, the third yellow : 


with a triple rainbow they played on high ; they fell in 
a hundred cups and hummed in a hundred glasses . 
The gentry ran riot : some drank, others wished a 
hundred years to the Count, all shouted, " Down with 
the Soplica ! " 

Jankiel rode off on horseback, silently, without saddle ; 
the Prussian likewise, unheard, though he still dis- 
coursed eloquently, tried to slip away ; the gentry 
chased him, crying that he was a traitor* Mickiewicz 
stood apart, at some distance, without either shouting 
or giving counsel, but from his air they perceived that 
he was plotting something evil: so they drew their 
blades, and at the shout of " Down with him " he 
retreated, and defended himself; he was already 
wounded and leaning on the fence, when Zan and the 
three Czechots sprang to his aid* After this the men 
were separated, but in that scuffle two had been wounded 
in the hand, and one had got cut over the ear* The rest 
were mounting their horses. 

The Count and Gerwasy marshalled them and 
distributed arms and orders. At last, all started at a 
gallop down the long street of the hamlet, crying, 
44 Down with the Soplica ! " 



The Seneschal's astronomy The Chamberlain's remarks on comets 
Mysterious scene in the Judge's room Thaddeus, wishing to 
extricate himself dexterously, gets into serious trouble A new 
Dido The foray The last protest by an Apparitor The Count 
conquers Soplicowo Storm and massacre Gerwazy as butler 
The banquet after the foray. 

BEFORE a thunderstorm there is a quiet, sullen moment, 
when the cloud that has gathered over men's heads 
stops and with threatening countenance checks the 
breath of the winds ; it is silent, but surveys the earth 
with the eyes of the lightnings, marking the spots where 
soon it will cast bolt after bolt : such a moment of calm 
rested over the house at Soplicowo. You would have 
thought that a presentiment of unusual events had 
closed all lips, and had borne off the spirits of all into 
the land of dreams. 

After supper the Judge and his guests went out into 
the yard to enjoy the evening, and seated themselves on 
benches of turf built along the house wall. The whole 
company, in gloomy, quiet attitudes, gazed at the sky, 
which seemed to grow lower and narrower, and to 
approach the earth nearer and nearer, until both, hiding 
beneath a dark veil, like lovers, began a mysterious 
discourse, interpreting their feelings in the stifled sighs, 
whispers, murmurs, and half-uttered words, of which 
the marvellous music of the evening is composed. 


The owl began it, hooting from beneath the house 
roof; the bats rustled with flimsy wings, and flew 
towards the house, where shone the panes of the windows 
and human faces ; but nearer, the little sisters of the 
bats, the moths, hovered in a swarm, attracted by the 
white garments of the women ; they were especially 
troublesome to Zosia, beating against her face and her 
bright eyes, which they mistook for two candles. In 
the air an immense cloud of insects gathered and 
whirled about, playing like the music of the spheres ; 
Zosia 's ear distinguished amid the thousand noises the 
accord of the flies and the false half-tone of the 

In the fields the evening concert had hardly begun ; 
the musicians were just finishing the tuning of their 
instruments : already the land rail, the first violin of 
the meadow, had shrieked thrice ; already from afar 
the bitterns seconded it with a bass boom below in the 
marshes ; already the woodcocks were rising up with 
whirling flight, uttering repeated cries, as though they 
were beating on drums. 

As a finale to the humming of the insects and the 
din of the birds there resounded in a double chorus 
two ponds, like enchanted lakes in the Caucasus moun- 
tains, silent through all the day and playing at evening. 
One pond, which had clear depths and a sandy shore, 
gave forth from its blue chest a gentle, solemn call ; 
the other pond, with a muddy bottom and a turbid 
throat, answered it with a mournfully passionate cry. 
In both ponds sang countless hordes of frogs ; the two 
choruses were attuned into two great accords : one 
thundered fortissimo, the other gently warbled ; one 
seemed to complain, the other only sighed ; thus the 


two ponds conversed together across the fields, like 
two -ffiolian harps that play alternately* 

The darkness was thickening ; only in the woods and 
among the willows along the streamlet the eyes of wolves 
shone like candles, and farther off, on the narrowed 
borders of the horizon, here and there were the fires of 
shepherds' camps* Finally the moon lighted her silver 
torch, came forth from the wood, and illumined both 
sky and land* Now they both, half uncovered from the 
darkness, slept side by side, like a happy married pair ; 
the heaven took into its pure arms the breast of the 
earth, which shone silvery in the moonlight* 

Now, opposite the moon, first one star and then 
another began to shine ; now a thousand of them, and 
now a million twinkled. Castor and his brother Pollux 
glittered at their head, once called among the Slavs 
Lele and Polele ; 139 now they have been christened 
anew in the people's zodiac ; one is called Lithuania 
and the other the Kingdom, 140 

Farther off glitter the two pans of the heavenly 
Scales, Upon them God on the day of creation as old 
men say weighed in turn the earth and all the planets 
before he set the burden of them in the abysses of the 
air ; then he hung up in heaven the gilded scales : on 
these men have modelled their balances and scale pans* 

To the north shines the circle of the starry Sieve, 141 
through which God, as they say, gifted grains of corn, 
when he cast them down from heaven for Adam our 
father, who had been banished for his sins from paradise* 

Somewhat higher, David's Car, 142 ready for mounting, 
turns its long pole towards the north star* The old 
Lithuanians know, concerning this chariot, that the 
populace err in calling it David's, since it is the Angel's 


Car* On it long ago rode Lucifer, when he summoned 
God to combat, rushing at full gallop along the Milky 
Way towards the threshold of heaven, until Michael 
threw him from his car, and cast the car from the road. 
Now it is stretched out ruined amid the stars ; the 
Archangel Michael will not allow it to be repaired* 

And it is also well known among the old Lithuanians 
but this knowledge they probably derived from the 
rabbins that the huge, long Dragon of the zodiac, 
which winds its starry coils over the sky, and which 
astronomers erroneously christen a serpent, is not a 
serpent, but a fish, and is named Leviathan. Long ago 
it dwelt in the seas, but after the deluge it died for lack 
of water ; hence on the vault of heaven, both as a 
curiosity and as a reminder, the angels hung up its dead 
remains. In the same way the priest of Mir has hung 
up in his church the ribs and shanks of giants that have 
been dug from the earth. 143 

Such stories of the stars, which he had conned from 
books or learned from tradition, did the Seneschal relate. 
Though in the evening the old Seneschal's sight was 
weak, and he could see nothing in the sky through his 
spectacles, yet he knew by heart the name and form of 
every constellation ; with his finger he indicated their 
places and their paths. 

To-day they listened little to him, and gave no heed 
at all to the Sieve, or to the Dragon, or even to the 
Scales ; to-day the eyes and thoughts of all were absorbed 
by a new guest, recently observed in the sky. This was a 
comet of the first magnitude and power, 144 which had 
appeared in the west and was flying towards the north ; 
with a bloody eye it looked askance upon the Chariot, 
as though it wished to seize the empty place of Lucifer ; 


behind, it threw out a long tail, and with it encircled a 
third part of the sky, gathered in hundreds of stars as 
with a net, and drew them after it ; but it aimed its own 
head higher, towards the north, straight for the polar 

With inexpressible apprehension all the Lithuanian 
folk gazed each night at this heavenly marvel, foreboding 
ill from it, and likewise from other signs : for too often 
they heard the cries of ill-omened birds, which, gathering 
in throngs on empty fields, sharpened their beaks as if 
awaiting corpses* Too often they noticed that the dogs 
rooted up the earth, and, as if scenting death, howled 
piercingly, which was an omen of famine or of war* 
But the forest guards beheld how through the graveyard 
walked the Maid of Pestilence, whose brow rises above 
the highest trees, and who waves in her left hand a 
bloody kerchief* 145 

From all this the Overseer drew various conclusions, 
as he stood by the fence after coming to report on the 
work ; so likewise did the Bookkeeper, who was whisper- 
ing with the Steward* 

But the Chamberlain was seated on the bench of 
turf before the house* He interrupted the conversation 
of the guests, a sign that he was preparing to speak ; 
in the moonlight shone his great snuffbox (all of pure 
gold, set with diamonds ; in the middle of it was a 
portrait of King Stanislaw, under glass) ; he tapped on 
it with his fingers, took a pinch, and said : 

* Thaddeus, your talk about the stars is only an 
echo of what you have heard in school ; as to marvels I 
prefer to take the advice of simple people, I too studied 
astronomy for two years at Wilno, where Pani Pusynin, 
a wise and a rich woman, had given the income of a 


village of two hundred peasants for the purchase of 
various glasses and telescopes* Father Poczobut, 348 
a famous man, was in charge of the observatory, and 
at that time rector of the whole university ; how- 
ever he finally abandoned his professor's chair and his 
telescope and returned to his monastery, to his quiet 
cell, and there he died as a good Christian should, I 
am also acquainted with Sniadecki, 147 who is a very wise 
man, though a layman. Now the astronomers regard 
planets and comets just as plain citizens do a coach ; 
they know whether it is drawing up before the king's 
palace, or whether it is starting abroad from the city 
gates ; but who was riding in it, and why, of what he 
talked with the king, and whether the king dismissed 
the ambassador with peace or war of all that they do 
not even inquire. I remember in my time when Branicki 
started in his coach to Jassy, 148 and after that dishonour- 
able coach streamed a train of Targowica confederates, 
as the tail follows that comet* The plain people, though 
they did not meddle in public deliberations, guessed at 
once that that train was an omen of treason* The report 
is that the folk has given the name of broom to this 
comet, and says that it will sweep away a million men*" 
And in reply the Seneschal said with a bow : 
" That is true, Your Excellency the Chamberlain* I 
remember myself what was once told me when I was a 
little child ; I remember, though I was not ten years 
old at the time, how I saw at our house the late Sapieha, 
lieutenant of a regiment of cuirassiers, who later was 
Court Marshal of the Kingdom, and finally died as 
Grand Chancellor of Lithuania, at the age of one 
hundred and ten years ; when Jan III* Sobieski was 
king, he had served in the Vienna campaign under the 


command of the hetman Jablonowski. So this Chan- 
cellor related that just at the moment when King Jan IIL 
was mounting his horse, when the papal nuncio had 
blest him for the journey, and the Austrian ambassador 
was kissing his foot as he handed him the stirrup (the 
ambassador was named Count Wilcsek), the King cried : 
' See what is going on in Heaven ! ' They beheld that 
over their heads was advancing a comet by the same 
path that the armies of Mahomet had taken, from the 
east to the west* Later Father Bartochowski, who 
composed a panegyric for the triumph at Cracow, 
under the title Orientis Fulmen, 1 ** discoursed much 
about that comet ; I have also read of it in a work called 
Janina, 160 in which the entire expedition of the late 
King Jan is described, and where there is engraved the 
great standard of Mahomet, and just such a comet as 
we see to-day." 

" Amen/' said the Judge in reply, " I accept your 
augury that a Jan III. may appear along with the star ! 
To-day there is a great hero in the west ; perhaps the 
comet will bring him to us : which may God grant ! " 

Sorrowfully drooping his head, the Seneschal re- 
plied : 

" A comet sometimes forebodes wars, and sometimes 
mere brawls ! It is not good that it has appeared here 
over Soplicowo ; perhaps it threatens us with some 
household misfortune. Yesterday we had wrangling 
and disputes enough, both at the time of the hunt and 
during the banquet. In the morning the Notary quar- 
relled with the Assessor, and Thaddeus challenged the 
Count in the evening. The disagreement seems to have 
arisen from the bear's hide, and if my friend the Judge 
had not hindered me, I should have reconciled the two 


adversaries right at the table* For I should have liked 
to tell a curious incident, similar to what occurred at 
our hunt yesterday, which happened to the foremost 
sportsmen of my time, the deputy Rejtan and the Prince 
de Nassau* The occurrence was as follows : 

41 Prince Csartoryski, 151 the general of Podole, was 
travelling from Volhynia to his Polish estates, or, if I 
remember correctly, to the Diet at Warsaw* On his way 
he visited the gentry, partly for amusement, and partly 
to win popularity ; so he called upon Pan Thaddeus 
Rejtan, 152 to-day of holy memory, who was later our 
deputy from Nowogrodek, and in whose house I grew 
up from childhood* So Rejtan, on the occasion of the 
Prince's coming, had invited guests, and the gentry 
had gathered in large numbers* There were theatrical 
entertainments (the Prince was devoted to the theatre) ; 
Kassyc, who lives in Jatra, gave fireworks ; Pan 
Tyzenhaus 153 sent dancers ; and Oginski 154 and Pan 
Soltan, who lives in Zdzienciol, furnished musicians, 
In a word, at home they offered entertainments gor- 
geous beyond expectation, and in the forest they ar- 
ranged a mighty hunt* It is well known to you gentlemen 
that almost all the Czartoryskis within the memory of 
man, though they spring from the blood of the Jagiellos, 
are nevertheless not over keen on hunting, though cer- 
tainly not from laziness, but from their foreign tastes ; 
and the Prince General looked oftener into books than 
into kennels, and oftener into ladies' alcoves than into 
the forests* 

" In the Prince's suite was a German, Prince de 
Nassau, 156 of whom they related that, when a guest in 
the Libyan country, he had once gone hunting with the 
Moorish kings, and there with a spear had overcome a 


tiger in hand to hand combat, of which feat that Prince 
de Nassau boasted greatly* In our country, at that time, 
they were hunting wild boars ; Rejtan had killed with 
his musket an immense sow, at great risk to himself, for 
he shot from close by. Each of us admired and praised 
the sureness of the aim ; only the German, de Nassau, 
listened with indifference to such compliments, and, 
walking off, muttered in his beard that a sure aim proved 
only a bold eye, but that cold steel proved a bold 
hand ; and once more he began to talk big about his 
Libya and his spear, his Moorish kings and his tiger. 
This began to be annoying to Pan Rejtan, who, being a 
quick-tempered man, smote his sword and said : * My 
Lord Prince, whoever looks boldly, fights boldly ; wild 
boars are equal to tigers, and sabres to spears/ Then the 
German and he began somewhat too lively a discussion. 
Luckily the Prince General interrupted their dispute, 
and reconciled them, speaking in French ; what he 
said to them I know not, but that reconciliation was only 
ashes over live coals : for Rejtan took the matter to 
heart, bided his time, and promised to play the German 
a good trick. This trick he almost atoned for with his 
own life, but he played it the next day, as I will tell you 

Here the Seneschal paused, and, raising his right 
hand, asked the Chamberlain for his snuffbox ; he took 
several pinches, but did not vouchsafe to finish his tale, 
as though he wished to sharpen the curiosity of his 
hearers. At last he was beginning when that tale, so 
curious and so diligently hearkened to, was again inter- 
rupted ! For some one had unexpectedly sent a man to 
the Judge, with the message that he was waiting on 
business that brooked no delay. The Judge, wishing 


them good night, bade farewell to the company : 
immediately they scattered in various directions ; some 
went into the house to sleep, others into the barn, to 
rest on the hay ; the Judge went to give audience to the 

The others were already asleep. Thaddeus wandered 
about the hallway, pacing like a watchman near his 
uncle's door, for he had to seek his counsel about im- 
portant affairs, on that very day, before he went to 
sleep. He did not dare to knock, for the Judge had 
locked the door and was talking secretly with somebody ; 
Thaddeus awaited the end of the interview and pricked 
up his ears. 

From within he heard a sobbing ; without touching 
the latch he cautiously looked through the keyhole. 
He saw a marvellous thing ! The Judge and Robak were 
kneeling on the floor in each other's embrace, and were 
weeping hot tears ; Robak was kissing the Judge's hands, 
while the Judge, weeping, embraced Robak around 
the neck ; finally, after a pause of a quarter of an hour 
in their talk, Robak softly spoke these words : 156 

" Brother, God knows that till now I have never 
betrayed the secrets that, in repentance for my sins, I 
vowed at my confession to keep inviolate ; that, en- 
tirely devoted to God and to my country, not serving 
pride, nor seeking earthly glory, I have lived till now 
and wished to die a Bernardine monk, concealing my 
name not only from the crowd, but from you and from 
my own son ! However, the provincial has given me 
permission to make the disclosure in articulo mortis. 
Who knows whether I shall return alive ! Who knows 
what will happen in Dobrzyn ! Brother, affairs are 
frightfully, frightfully confused ! The French are still 


far away, we must wait till the winter is over, but the 
gentry may not restrain themselves* Perhaps I have 
been too active in stirring up the insurrection ! They 
may have understood me ill ! The Warden has spoiled 
all ! That crazy Count, I hear, has rushed away to 
Dobrzyn ; I could not head him off, for an important 
reason : old Maciek has recognised me, and if he 
betrays me I must needs bow my neck beneath the 
penknife. Nothing will restrain the Warden ! My life 
matters little, but by that disclosure I should destroy 
the foundations of thfe plot. 

44 And yet ! I must be there to-day, and see what is 
going on, though I perish ! Without me the gentry will 
run wild ! Farewell, my dearest brother ! Farewell, I 
must hasten. If I perish, you alone will sigh for my soul ; 
in case of war, the whole secret is known to you finish 
what I have begun, and remember that you are a 

Here the Monk wiped away his tears, buttoned his 
gown, drew on his cowl, and quietly opened the shutters 
of the rear window ; evidently he jumped through the 
window into the garden. The Judge, left alone, sat 
down in a chair and began to weep. 

Thaddeus waited a moment, before he jingled at the 
latch ; when the door was opened he went in quietly 
and bowed low. 

44 My dear uncle/' he said, " I have spent here but 
a few days, and the days have passed like a flash. I 
have not yet had time to enjoy fully your house and your 
own company, but I must depart, I must hasten away 
at once ; to-day, uncle, or to-morrow at the latest. You 
remember that we have challenged the Count ; to fight 
him is my affair, and I have sent a challenge. Since 


duelling is prohibited in Lithuania, I am going to the 
borders of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw ; the Count, 
of course, is a braggart, but he does not lack courage, 
and will appear without fail at the appointed place. 
We will settle accounts; and, if God grants me his 
blessing, I will punish him, and then will swim over 
the Lososna, where the ranks of my brothers await me. 
I have heard that my father in his will bade me enter 
the army, and I have not heard that that will has been 

44 My dear Thaddeus/' said his uncle, " have you 
been scalded with boiling water, or are you dodging 
like a hunted fox that waves its brush in one direction 
and itself runs in another { We have challenged him, to 
be sure, and you will have to fight, but why are you so 
bent on going to-day t Before a duel it is the custom 
to send friends and settle the terms ; the Count may 
still beg our pardon and make amends : just wait, there 
is still time enough. Some other whimsy must be 
driving you away from here ; speak it out frankly : why 
such excuses t I am your uncle, and, though old, I 
know what young hearts are ; I have been a father to 
you." (As he spoke he stroked his nephew beneath the 
chin.) " My little finger has already been whispering 
in my ear that you, sir, have been carrying on some 
intrigues here with the ladies. Nowadays young men 
take to the ladies devilish quick. But, my dear Thaddeus, 
confess it to me, and frankly/' 

44 That is the truth/' mumbled Thaddeus, " there are 
other causes, my beloved uncle I Perhaps it was my own 
fault I A mistake 1 No, a misfortune ! It is now hard 
to correct it ! No, dear uncle, I can stay here no longer. 
An error of youth ! Uncle, do not question me further ; 


I must depart from Soplicowo as quickly as may 

44 Oho ! " said his uncle, " this is certainly some love 
tiff* I noticed yesterday that you bit your lips while you 
looked from under your eyebrows at a certain little 
girl ; I saw that she too had a sour expression* I know 
all that nonsense ; when a pair of children fall in love, 
then they have no end of misfortunes. Now they feel 
happy, now again they are afflicted and cast down ; now 
again, for God knows what reason, they are ready to bite 
each other ; now they stand in corners as if playing 
blind man's buff, and won't say a word to each other ; 
sometimes they even run out into the fields* If such an 
attack is upon you, just be patient, there is a cure for all 
that ; I will undertake to reconcile you shortly. I know 
all that nonsense, I have been young myself. Tell me 
all about it ; in return I too may reveal something, and 
thus we will confess ourselves to each other." 

" Uncle," said Thaddeus, kissing his hand and 
blushing, " I will tell you the truth. I have taken a 
great liking to that little girl, Zosia, your ward, though 
I have seen her only a couple of times ; but they tell 
me that you design for my wife the Chamberlain's 
daughter, a beautiful girl, and a rich man's daughter. 
Now I could not marry Panna Rosa when I am in love 
with Zosia ; it is hard to change one's heart, but 
dishonourable to marry when one loves another. Per- 
haps time will heal me ; I shall depart for a long 

' Thaddeus," interrupted his uncle, " that is a strange 
way of being in love, to run away from one's beloved. 
It is well that you are frank ; you see, you would have 
committed an act of folly by going away. But what 


should you say if I helped you to obtain Zosia i Hey i 
Well, aren't you jumping for joy t " 

4 Your goodness amazes me/' said Thaddeus after a 
pause, " but yet the favour of my kind uncle will avail 
me nothing ! Ah, my hopes are vain, for Pani Telimena 
will not yield me Zosia ! " 

" We will ask her/' said the Judge. 

44 No one can prevail upon her/' interrupted Thad- 
deus hastily* " No, I cannot wait, uncle ; I must be 
on my way quickly, to-morrow* Only give me you 
blessing, uncle ; I have made all my preparations, and 
am now leaving for the Grand Duchy/' 

The Judge, twirling his mustaches, gazed angrily at 
the lad : 

44 Are you so frank t Have you opened your heart 
to me so fully $* First that duel ! Then again love and 
this departure ; O, there is something behind all this ! 
They have been telling me, I have watched your steps ! 
You are a deceitful, giddy fellow ; you have been telling 
lies. Where were you going that evening, and what were 
you tracking like a setter outside the house t See 
here, Thaddeus, maybe you have seduced Zosia and are 
now running away ^ If so, booby, you will not succeed ! 
Whether you like it or not, I tell you that you shall 
marry Zosia. Otherwise, the horsewhip to-morrow you 
shall stand before the altar ! And you talk to me of 
feelings of an unchanging heart I You are a liar ! 
Foh ! I'll look into your case, Pan Thaddeus, I'll make 
your ears smart for you ! I've had enough trouble to-day 
till my head aches with it and now you come to keep 
me from going to sleep in peace I Now go to bed ! " 

So speaking he threw open the door and called the 
Apparitor to undress him* 


Thaddeus went out quietly, hanging his head, and 
thought over his bitter interview with his uncle. It was 
the first time that he had ever been scolded so severely ! 
He appreciated the justice of the reproaches and blushed 
at himself. What should he do t What if Zosia should 
learn the whole story i Should he ask for her hand ** 
But what would Telimena says' No he felt that he 
could remain no longer in Soplicowo* 

Thus buried in thought, he had hardly made two 
steps when something crossed his path ; he looked 
and saw a phantom all in white, tall, frail, and slender. 
It approached him with an outstretched arm, from 
which was reflected the trembling light of the moon, 
and, stepping up to him, softly moaned : 

44 Ungrateful man ! You sought my glance, and now 
you avoid it; you sought for speech with me, and 
to-day you close your ears, as though in my words and 
in my glance there were poison ! I deserve my fate ; I 
knew who you were ! A man ! Guiltless of coquetry, I 
did not wish to torture you, but made you happy ; and 
is this the gratitude you show me ! A triumph over my 
soft heart has hardened your heart ; since you won it so 
easily, too quickly have you despised it ! I deserve my 
fate ; but, taught by bitter experience, believe me, that 
I despise myself more than you can despise me ! " 

4 Telimena/' said Thaddeus, 44 1 vow to Heaven that 
my heart is not hard, nor do I avoid you through con- 
tempt* But just consider, they are watching us, follow- 
ing us ; can we act so openly t What will people say ? 
Why, this is improper, I vow it is a sin ! " 

44 A sin I " she answered him with a bitter smile. 
44 O you young innocent ! you lamb ! If I, who am a 
woman, from very force of love care not though I be 


discovered, and though I be put to shame but you ! 
you a man 1 What matters it to one of you men, even 
though he may confess that he has intrigues with a 
dozen sweethearts at a time 4 Speak the truth, you wish 
to desert me/' 

She dissolved in tears, 

41 Telimena," answered Thaddeus, 44 what would the 
world say of a man, who now, at my time of life, in 
good health, should settle down in a village and pass 
his time making love when so many young men, so 
many married men are leaving their wives and children 
and fleeing abroad, to the standards of their country t 
Although I might wish to remain, does it depend on me t 
My father in his will bade me enter the Polish army, and 
now my uncle has repeated that command ; to-morrow 
I depart ; I have already made my resolution, and with 
Heaven's aid, Telimena, I shall not change it/' 

44 I do not wish to bar your path to glory," said 
Telimena, "or to hinder your happiness ! You are a 
man, you will find a sweetheart worthier of your love ; 
you will find one richer and fairer ! Only for my con- 
solation, let me know before we part that your liking 
for me was a true affection, that it was not merely a jest 
or wanton lust, but love ; let me know that my Thaddeus 
loves me ! Let me hear once more from your lips the 
words 4 I love,' let me grave them in my heart, and write 
them in my thoughts ; I shall forgive more easily, 
though you cease to love me, remembering how you 
have loved me ! " 

And she began to sob. 

Thaddeus, seeing that she wept and implored him so 
feelingly, and that she required of him only such a 
trifle, was moved ; sincere sorrow and pity overcame 


him, and if he had searched the secrets of his heart, 
perhaps at that moment he himself could not have told 
whether he loved her or not. So he spoke eagerly : 

" Telimena, so may God's bright lightning strike me, 
if it be not true that I have been fond of you yes, that 
I have loved you deeply ; short were the moments that 
we spent together, but so sweetly and so tenderly did 
they pass that for long, forever, will they be present to 
my thoughts, and Heaven knows that I shall never forget 
you ! " 

With a bound Telimena fell upon his neck : 

" This is what I have hoped for ; you love me, so I 
still live ! For to-day I was going to end my life by my 
own hand ! Since you love me, my dear one, can you 
abandon me ^ To you I have given my heart, and to 
you I will give my worldly goods ; I will follow you 
everywhere ; with you each corner of the world will be 
charming ; of the wildest wilderness love, believe me, 
will make a paradise ! " 

Thaddeus tore himself from her embrace by force 
" What 1 " said he, " are you mad 1 Follow me 1 
Where t How { Shall I, being a common soldier, drag 
you after me, as a sutleress t " 

4 Then we will be espoused," said Telimena. 

" No, never ! " shouted Thaddeus, " At present I 
have no intention whatever of marrying, nor of making 
love nonsense ! Let's drop the matter ! I beg you, 
my dear, bethink yourself ! Be calm I I am grateful to 
you, but it is impossible for us to marry ; let us love 
each other, but just in different places. I cannot 
remain longer ; no, no, I must go. Farewell, my Teli- 
mena, I leave to-morrow/' 

He spoke, pulled his hat over his eyes, and turned 


aside, meaning to depart ; but Telimena checked him 
with an eye and countenance like those of Medusa's 
head : against his will he had to remain ; he looked 
with terror on her form ; she had become pale, without 
motion, breath, or life. At last, stretching out an arm 
like a sword to transfix him, with her finger aimed 
straight at the eyes of Thaddeus, she cried : 

4 This is what I wished ! Ha, tongue of dragon, heart 
of viper ! I care not that, infatuated with you, I scorned 
the Assessor, the Count, and the Notary, that you se- 
duced me and have now abandoned me in my orphan- 
hood ; for that I care not ! You are a man, I know your 
falsity; I know that, like others, you too would be 
capable of breaking your plighted troth ; but I did not 
know that so basely you could lie ! I have been listening 
by your uncle's door ! So what about that child Zosia t 
Has she attracted your regard t And do you traitorously 
lay claim to her ! Hardly had you deceived one unfor- 
tunate, when already beneath her very eyes you were 
seeking new victims ! Flee, but my curses will reach 
you or remain, and I will publish your perfidies to 
the world ; your arts will no longer corrupt others as 
they have corrupted me ! Away ! I despise you ! You 
are a liar, a base man ! " 

At this insult, mortal for a gentleman's ears, the like 
of which no Soplica had ever heard, Thaddeus trembled, 
and his face grew pale as that of a corpse* Stamping 
his foot and biting his lips, he muttered, " Idiotic 
woman ! " 

He walked away, but the epithet " base " echoed in 
his heart ; the young man shuddered, and felt that he 
had deserved it ; he felt that he had inflicted a great 
wrong on Telimena ; his conscience told him that she 


had reproached him justly : yet he felt that after those 
reproaches he loathed her more violently than ever. Of 
Zosia, alas ! he did not venture to think ; he was ashamed. 
However, that very Zosia, so lovely and so charming, 
his uncle had been seeking to win for him ! Perhaps 
she would have been his wife, had not a demon, after 
entangling him in sin after sin, lie after lie, at last bade 
him adieu with a mocking laugh. He was rebuked and 
scorned by all ! In a few short days he had ruined his 
future ! He felt the just punishment of his crime* 

In this storm of feelings, like an anchor of rest there 
suddenly flashed upon him the thought of the duel, 
44 I must slay the Count, the scoundrel ! " he cried, " I 
must perish or be avenged ! " But for what t That he 
did not know himself. And that great burst of anger, 
as it had come over him in the twinkling of an eye, so 
it vanished away ; he was seized anew by a deep sadness. 
He meditated whether his observation might not be 
true, that the Count and Zosia had some mutual under- 
standing. " And what of that $* Perhaps the Count 
sincerely loves Zosia ; perhaps she loves him, and will 
choose him for her husband ! By what right could I 
desire to break off that marriage ; and, unhappy myself, 
to destroy the happiness of every one i " 

He fell into despair and saw no other means except 
speedy flight. Whither < To the grave ! 

So, pressing his fist against his bent brow, he ran to 
the meadows, where, below, the ponds glittered, and 
took his stand above the one with marshy banks ; in 
its greenish depths he buried his greedy gaze and drew 
into his breast with joy the swampy odours, and opened 
his lips to them ; for suicide, like all wild passions, 
springs from the imagination : in the giddy whirling 


of his brain he felt an unspeakable longing to drown 
himself in the swamp. 

But Telimena, guessing the young man's despair 
from his wild gestures, and seeing that he had run to- 
wards the ponds, although she burned with such just 
wrath against him, was nevertheless alarmed ; in reality 
she had a kind heart* She had felt sorrow that Thaddeus 
dared to love another ; she had wished to punish him, 
but she had not thought of destroying him* So she 
rushed after him, raising both her arms and crying : 
" Stop ! What folly ! Love me or not ! Get married or 

depart ! Only stop ! " But in his swift course he 

had far outstripped her ; he already was standing at 
the shore ! 

By a strange decree of fate, along that same shore was 
riding the Count, at the head of his band of jockeys ; 
and, carried away by the charm of so fair a night, and 
by the marvellous harmony of that subaqueous orchestra, 
of those choruses that rang like JEolian harps (for no 
frogs sing so beautifully as those of Poland), he checked 
his horse and forgot about his expedition. He turned 
his ear to the pond and listened curiously ; he ran his 
eyes over the fields, over the expanse of the heavens : 
he was evidently composing in his thoughts a nocturnal 

In very truth, the neighbourhood was picturesque ! 
The two ponds inclined their faces towards each other 
like a pair of lovers. The right pond had waters smooth 
and pure as a maiden's cheeks ; the left was somewhat 
darker, like the swarthy face of a youth, already shaded 
with manly down. The right was encircled with glitter- 
ing golden sand as if with bright hair ; but the brow 
of the left bristled with osiers, and was tufted with 


willows : both ponds were clothed in a garment of 

From them there flowed and met two streams, like 
hands clasped together : farther on the stream formed a 
waterfall ; it fell, but did not perish, for into the darkness 
of the ravine it bore upon its waves the golden shimmer 
of the moon. The water fell in sheets, and on every 
sheet glittered skeins of moonbeams ; the light in the 
ravine was dispersed into fine splinters, which the fleeing 
flood seized and carried off below, but from on high the 
moonbeams fell in fresh skeins* You might have thought 
that by the pond a nixie 157 was sitting, and with one 
hand was pouring forth a fountain from a bottomless 
urn, while with the other she cast sportively into the 
water handfuls of enchanted gold that she took from 
her apron* 

Farther on, the brook, running out from the ravine, 
wound over the plain, and became quiet, but one could 
see that it still flowed, for along its moving, shimmering 
surface the quivering moonlight twinkled. As the fair 
serpent of Zmudz called giwojtos, though, lying amid 
the heather, it seems to slumber, still crawls along, for 
by turns it shows silver and golden, until it suddenly 
vanishes from the eye in the moss or ferns ; so the 
brook wound and hid among the alders, which showed 
black on the far horizon, raising their light forms, indis- 
tinct to the eye, like spirits half seen and half in mist. 

Between the ponds in the ravine a mill was hidden* 
As an old guardian who is spying on two lovers and has 
heard their talk together, grows angry, storms, shakes 
his head and hands and stutters out threats against 
them ; so that mill suddenly shook its brow overgrown 
with moss and twirled around its many-fingered fist : 


hardly had it begun to clatter and stir its sharp-toothed 
jaws, when at the same moment it deafened the love 
talk of the ponds, and awoke the Count. 

The Count, seeing that Thaddeus had approached so 
near the spot where he had halted under arms, shouted : 
" To arms ! Seize him ! " The jockeys rushed forward, 
and, before Thaddeus could comprehend what was 
happening to him, they had already caught him ; they 
ran towards the mansion and poured into the yard. The 
mansion awoke, the dogs barked, the watchmen shouted, 
the Judge rushed out half clad ; he saw the armed throng 
and thought that they were robbers until he recognised 
the Count. " What does this mean t " he asked. The 
Count flashed his sword over him, but, when he saw 
that he was unarmed, his fury grew cool. 

44 Soplica," he said, 4t ancestral enemy of my family, 
to-day I punish thee for ancient and for fresh offences ; 
to-day thou wilt render me an account for the seizure 
of my fortune before I avenge me for the insult to my 
honour ! " 

But the Judge crossed himself and cried : 

4 4 In the name of the Father and of the Son ! foh ! 
My Lord the Count, are you a robber t By God, does 
this befit your birth, your education, and the station 
you occupy in the world t I will not permit myself to 
be wronged ! " 

Meanwhile the servants of the Judge had run up, 
some with clubs, others with guns ; the Seneschal, 
standing some distance away, looked curiously into the 
eyes of the Count and held a knife in his sleeve. 

They were already on the point of beginning battle, 
but the Judge prevented them ; it was vain to offer any 
defence, for a new enemy was coming up. Among the 
alders they saw a flash, and heard the report of a carbine ! 


The bridge over the river rattled with the trampling 
of cavalry, and a thousand voices thundered, " Down 
with the Soplica ! " The Judge shuddered, for he 
recognised Gerwazy's watchword. 

" This is nothing/' cried the Count, " there will soon 
be more of us here ; submit, Judge, these are my allies/' 

Thereupon the Assessor ran up shouting : 

" I arrest you in the name of His Imperial Majesty ! 
Yield your sword, Count, for I shall summon the aid of 
the army ; and you are aware, that if any one dares to 
make a night attack under arms, it is provided by ukaz 
one thousand two hundred, that as a malef " 

Thereupon the Count struck him across the face with 
the flat of his sword. The Assessor fell stunned, and 
disappeared among the nettles ; all thought that he was 
wounded or dead. 

44 I see/' said the Judge, " that this looks like 

Every one shrieked ; all were deafened by the wailing 
of Zosia, who, throwing her arms around the Judge, 
cried like a child pricked with needles by Jews. 

Meanwhile Telimena had rushed among the horses 
and extended her clasped hands towards the Count. 

" Upon your honour 1 " she cried with a piercing 
voice, with head thrown back and with streaming hair. 
" By all that is holy, we implore you on our knees I 
Count, will you dare to refuse t Ladies beg you ; 
savage man, you must first murder us / " 

She fell in a faint. The Count sprang to her aid, 
amazed and somewhat disconcerted by this scene. 

" Panna Sophia/' he said, " Pani Telimena, never 
shall this sword be stained with the blood of an un- 
armed foe 1 Soplicas, you are my prisoners. Thus did 
I in Italy, when beneath the crag that the Sicilians call 


Birbante-Rocca I overcame a camp of brigands ; the 
armed I slew, those that laid down their weapons I 
captured and had bound : they walked behind the 
steeds and adorned my glorious triumph ; then they 
were hanged at the foot of Etna/' 

It was an especial piece of good luck for the Soplicas 
that the Count, having better horses than the gentry, 
and wishing to be the first in the engagement, had left 
them behind, and had galloped at least a mile 158 in 
advance of the rest of the cavalry, along with his jockeys, 
who were obedient and well disciplined, and formed a 
sort of regular army* For the rest of the gentry, as is 
usually the case with insurgents, were turbulent, and 
beyond measure quick at hanging* As it was, the Count 
had time to recover from his heat and wrath, and to 
deliberate how to end the battle without bloodshed ; so 
he gave orders to lock the Soplica family in the mansion 
as prisoners of war, and stationed guards at the doors. 

Then with a shout of " Down with the Soplicas ! " 
the gentry rushed on in a body, surrounded the estate 
and took it by storm, so much the more easily since the 
leader had been captured and the garrison had run 
away ; but the conquerors wanted to fight and looked 
for an enemy* Not being admitted to the mansion, they 
ran to the farmhouse, to the kitchen when they 
entered the kitchen, the sight of the pots, the hardly 
extinct fire, the fresh smell of cooked food, the crunch- 
ing of the dogs, which were gnawing the remains of the 
supper, appealed to the hearts of all, and changed the 
current of their thoughts ; it cooled their wrath, but 
inflamed their desire for food. Wearied by the march 
and by an entire day of debate, they thrice shouted 
with one voice, " Eat, eat ! " to which there came a 
reply of " Drink, drink ! " from among the throng 


of gentry* There arose two choruses, some crying 
44 Drink ! " and others " Eat ! " the watchwords flew 
and echoed, and wherever they reached they made 
mouths water and stomachs feel empty. And so, at a 
signal given from the kitchen, the army unexpectedly 
dispersed for foraging* 

Gerwazy, repulsed from the Judge's rooms, had to 
retire, out of regard for the Count's watchmen. So, not 
being able to take vengeance on his enemy, he bethought 
himself of the second great aim of this expedition. As a 
man experienced and adept in legal matters, he wished 
to establish the Count in his new possessions legally and 
formally ; so he ran for the Apparitor, and at last, after 
long search, discovered him behind the stove. Straight- 
way he seized him by the collar, dragged him to the yard, 
and, pointing his penknife at his breast, spoke thus : 

44 Mr. Apparitor, my Lord the Count ventures to ask 
Your Honour that you would be so kind as immediately to 
proclaim before the gentlemen and brethren the estab- 
lishment of the Count in the castle, in the estate of the 
Soplicas, the village, the sown fields, the fallow land, in 
a word, cum grovibus, forestis et borderibus ; peasantibus, 
bailiffis, et omnibus rebus et quibusdam aliis. You know 
the formula ; so bark it out : don't leave out anything." 

44 Mr. Warden, wait awhile," said Protazy boldly, 
thrusting his hands into his belt. " I am ready to carry 
out all the orders of the contending parties, but I warn 
you that the act will not be valid, being extorted by 
violence and proclaimed by night." 

44 What violence * " said the Warden. 44 There is no 
assault here. Why, I am asking you politely ; if it is too 
dark for you, then I will kindle a fire with my penknife 
so that it will be as bright in your peepers as in seven 


44 My dear Gerwazy," said the Apparitor, " why be 
so huffy 4 I am an apparitor ; it is not my business to 
discuss the case* Everybody knows that a party to a 
suit summons an apparitor and dictates to him whatever 
he chooses, and the apparitor proclaims it. The apparitor 
is the ambassador of the law, and ambassadors are not 
subject to punishment, so that I do not know why you 
keep me under guard, I will immediately write an act 
if some one will only bring me a lantern, but meanwhile 
I proclaim : Brothers, come to order ! " 

And in order to make his voice carry better, he 
stepped up on a great heap of beams (near the garden 
fence beams were drying) ; he climbed on them, and 
at once, as if the wind had blown him away, he vanished 
from sight ; they heard how he plumped into the cab- 
bage patch, they saw how his white hat flitted like a dove 
over the dark hemp. Bucket shot at the hat, but missed 
his aim ; then there was a crackling of poles Protazy 
was already in the hop patch, " I protest/' he shouted ; 
he was sure of escape, for behind him he had swamps 
and the bed of the stream. 

After this protest, which resounded like the last 
cannon shot on conquered ramparts, all resistance 
subsided in the mansion of the Soplicas, The hungry 
gentry pillaged and seized upon whatever they could 
find. Sprinkler, taking his stand in the cow-shed, 
sprinkled an ox and two calves on the brows, and Razor 
plunged his sabre in their throats. Awl with equal 
diligence employed his sword, sticking hogs and sucking 
pigs beneath the shoulder blades. And now slaughter 
threatened the poultry a watchful flock of those geese 
that once saved Rome from the treachery of the Gauls, 
in vain cackled for aid ; in place of Manlius, Bucket 
attacked the coop, strangled some of the birds, and tied 


others alive to the girdle of his kontusz. In vain the 
geese called out hoarsely, winding their necks about ; 
in vain the ganders hissed and nipped their assailant. 
He ran ; besprinkled with the glittering down, borne 
forward as if on wheels by the motion of the close- 
packed wings, he seemed to be Chochlik, the winged 
evil spirit. 159 

But the most terrible slaughter, though the least 
uproar, was among the hens. Young Buzzard assaulted 
the hencoop, and, catching them with a cord, he pulled 
down from the roosts the cocks and the rough-feathered 
and crested hens ; one after another he strangled them 
and laid them in a heap ; lovely birds, fed upon pearl 
barley. Heedless Buzzard, what fervour carried thee 
away ! Never after this wilt thou win thy pardon from 
the angry Zosia ! 

Gerwazy called to mind the days of old, and bade 
them give him the belts from their kontuszes, and with 
them he drew from the Soplicas* cellar casks of old 
brandy, mead, and beer. Some they broached at once ; 
others the gentry, thick as ants, seized with a will and 
rolled to the castle. There the whole throng gathered 
for the night encampment ; there were established the 
Count's headquarters. 

They laid a hundred fires, boiled, broiled, and 
roasted ; the tables bent beneath the meat, and drink 
flowed in a river. The gentry were minded to eat, drink, 
and sing the whole night through, but slowly they began 
to doze and yawn ; eye after eye was extinguished, and 
the whole company nodded their heads ; each fell where 
he sat, one with a platter, one over a tankard, one by a 
quarter of beef. Thus the victors were conquered at 
last by Sleep, the brother of Death. 



Of the dangers arising from the disorderly conduct of a camp Un- 
expected succour The gloomy situation of the gentry The visit 
of the Bernardine, collecting alms, is an omen of rescue Major 
Plut by excessive gallantry draws down a storm upon himself 
A pistol shot, the signal for combat The deeds of Sprinkler; 
the deeds and dangers of Maciek Bucket by an ambuscade pre- 
serves Soplicowo Reinforcements of cavalry; attack on the 
infantry The deeds of Thaddeus Duel of the leaders inter- 
rupted by treason The Seneschal by a decisive manoeuvre inclines 
the scales of combat Bloody deeds of Gerwazy The Chamber- 
lain as a magnanimous victor. 

AND they snored in so sound a sleep that they were not 
wakened by the gleam of lanterns and the entry of some 
dozens of men, who fell upon the gentry as wall spiders, 
called mowers, upon drowsy flies ; scarcely does one of 
them have time to buzz before the grim master encircles 
it around with long legs and strangles it. The sleep of 
the gentry was still sounder than the sleep of flies : not 
a one buzzed ; all lay as if lifeless, though they were 
seized by strong arms, and thrown about like straw 
when it is bound into sheaves. 

Bucket alone, whose head was strongest at a banquet 
of all those in the district ; Bucket, who could drink 
two butts of mead before his tongue faltered and his legs 
tottered Bucket, though long had he feasted and deeply 
did he slumber, still gave a sign of life ; he blinked with 
one eye, and saw ! real nightmares ! two dreadful 
faces directly above him, and each had a pair of mus- 



taches. They breathed upon him, and touched his lips 
with their mustaches, and flourished about four hands 
like wings. He was terrified, and wanted to cross him 
self, but he tried in vain to stir his arm ; his right arm 
seemed pinned to his side. He strove to move his left 
alas ! he found that the spirits had wrapt him tight as a 
babe in swaddling bands. He was terrified still more 
frightfully ; immediately he closed his eyes and lay 
without breathing ; he grew cold and was near to death* 

But Sprinkler made an effort to defend himself, too 
late ! For he was already bound fast in his own belt* 
However, he twisted himself about and leapt up with 
such a spring that he fell back on the breasts of the 
sleeping men and rolled over their heads ; he tossed 
like a pike, when it writhes on the sand, and roared 
like a bear, for he had strong lungs. He roared : 
" Treachery ! " At once the whole company awoke 
and answered in chorus : " Treachery ! Violence ! 
Treachery ! " 

The cry went echoing to the mirror room, where 
slept the Count, Gerwazy, and the jockeys. Gerwazy 
awoke, and in vain struggled to free himself, for he was 
tied fast at full length to his own sword ; he looked 
about, and saw by the window armed men, in short, 
black helmets and green uniforms. One of them, girt 
with a scarf, held a sword, and with its point directed 
his company of men, whispering : " Bind ! Bind ! " 
Around him lay the jockeys, tied up like sheep ; the 
Count was sitting unbound but without arms, and by 
him stood two private soldiers with bare bayonets 
Gerwazy recognised them : alas ! the Muscovites ! ! ! 

Often had the Warden been in like distress, often had 
he felt ropes on his arms and legs ; and yet he had 
freed himself, for he knew a way of breaking bands : 


he was very strong and trusted in himself* He planned 
to save himself by silence ; he closed his eyes as if he 
were asleep, slowly stretched out his arms and legs, held 
his breath, and contracted his belly and his chest to the 
utmost ; then suddenly he grew short, puffed himself 
out, and doubled up : as a serpent, when it hides its 
head and tail in its coils, so Gerwazy became short and 
thick instead of long. The cords stretched and even 
creaked, but did not break ! From very shame and 
terror the Warden turned over and hid his angry face 
upon the floor ; closing his eyes he lay senseless as a log. 

Then the drums began to roll, at first slowly, then with 
a rumble that became ever faster and louder ; at this 
signal the Muscovite officer gave orders to lock up the 
Count and the jockeys in the hall, under guard, but to 
take the gentry out into the yard, where the other 
company was stationed* In vain Sprinkler fumed and 

The staff was stationed in the yard, and with it many 
armed gentry, the Podhajskis, Birbasses, Hrecsechas, 
Biergels, all friends or kinsmen of the Judge. They had 
hastened to his relief when they heard of the attack upon 
him, the more eagerly since they had long been at odds 
with the Dobrzynskis. 

Who had summoned the battalion of Muscovites 
from the villages t Who had gathered so quickly the 
neighbours from the hamlets t Was it the Assessor or 
Jankiel t As to this there were various rumours, but 
no one knew with certainty either then or later. 

Already the sun was rising, and showed blood-red ; 
its blunt edge, as if stripped of beams, was half visible 
and half hidden in the black clouds, like a heated horse- 
shoe in the charcoal of a forge. The wind was rising, 
and it drove on the clouds from the east, crowded and 


jagged as blocks of ice ; each cloud as it passed over 
sprinkled cold rain ; behind it rushed the wind and 
dried the rain again ; after the wind again a damp cloud 
flew by ; and thus the day by turns was cold and drizzly. 

Meanwhile the Major had given orders to drag up 
the beams that were drying near the yard, and in each 
beam to cut with an axe semicircular notches ; into these 
notches he thrust the legs of the prisoners and closed 
them with another beam. The two logs, nailed together 
at the ends, fastened upon the legs like the jaws of a 
bulldog ; with cords* they tied the arms of the gentry 
still more tightly behind their backs. The Major for 
their further torment had already had their caps pulled 
from their heads, and from their backs their cloaks, 
their kontuszes, and even their jackets even their 
tunics. Thus the gentry, fastened in the stocks, sat in a 
row, chattering their teeth in the cold and the rain, for 
the drizzle kept increasing. In vain Sprinkler fumed 
and struggled. 

Vainly the Judge interceded for the gentry, and 
vainly Telimena joined her entreaties to the tears of 
Zosia, that they should have more regard for the 
captives. Captain Nikita Rykov, to be sure a Musco- 
vite but a good fellow allowed himself to be mollified ; 
but this was of no avail, since he himself had to obey 
Major Plut. 160 

This Major, by birth a Pole from the little town of 
Dzierowicze, according to report, had been named 
Plutowicz in Polish, but had changed his name ; he 
was a great rascal, as is usually the case with Poles that 
turn Muscovites in the Tsar's service. Plut, with his 
pipe in his mouth and his hands on his hips, stood in 
front of the ranks of soldiers ; when people bowed to 

him, he turned up his nose, and in answer, as a sign of 



his wrathful humour, he puffed out a cloud of smoke 
and walked towards the house, 

But meanwhile the Judge had been appeasing Rykov, 
and likewise taking aside the Assessor. They were 
consulting how to end the affair out of court, and, what 
was still more important, without interference from the 
government* So Captain Rykov said to Major Plut : 

44 Major, what do we want of all these captives t If 
we send them up for trial, there will be great trouble for 
the gentry of the district, and no one will give you any 
reward for it, sir. I tell you, Major, it will be better to 
settle the matter quietly ; the Judge will have to reward 
you for your pains, and we will say that we came here on 
a visit : thus the goats will be whole and the wolf will 
be full. There is a Russian proverb : 4 All can be done 
with caution ! * and another proverb, 4 Roast your 
own meat on the Tsar's spit/ and a third proverb, 
4 Harmony is better than discord/ Tie the knot tight 
and put the ends in the water. We will not make a 
report, so that nobody will find out. * God gave hands 
to take with * that is a Russian proverb/' 

When he heard this the Major rose and exploded 
with wrath : 

44 Are you mad, Rykov t This is the Imperial service, 
and service is not friendship, you idiotic old Rykov 1 
Are you mad t Shall I discharge rebels 1 In these 
warlike times ! Ha, my Polish friends, I'll teach you 
rebellion ! Ha, you rascally Dobrzynski gentlemen ; 
O, I know you let the rascals soak ! " (And he guffawed, 
as he looked out of the window.) " Why, that same 
Dobrzynski who is sitting with his coat on hey, take 
off his coat ! last year at the masked ball started that 
squabble with me. Who began it t He not I. I was 
dancing, and he yelled, 4 Turn the scoundrel out ! *" 


Since I was just then under investigation for stealing 
from the regimental treasury, I was much embarrassed ; 
but what business was it of his 4 I was dancing the 
mazurka, and he shouted from behind, ' Scoundrel ! r 
The gentry after him cried ' Hurrah ! ' They insulted 
me* Well t The beggarly gentleman has fallen into my 
claws. I said to him : 4 See here, Dobrzynski, the goat 
will come to the butcher's waggon ! ' Well, Dobrzynski, 
switches are cut for you, you see ! " 

Then he bent over and whispered into the Judge's 

u Judge, if you want to have this matter hushed up, 
a thousand rubles cash for each head. A thousand 
rubles, Judge, that's my last word." 

The Judge tried to bargain, but the Major would 
not listen ; once more he stalked about the room and 
puffed out clouds of smoke, like a squib or a rocket. 
The women followed him, imploring and weeping. 

" Major/' said the Judge, " even if you go to law, 
what will you gain i There has been no bloody battle 
here, and no wounds ; for their eating of hens and geese 
they will pay fines according to the statute. I shall not 
make complaint against the Count ; this was only an 
ordinary squabble between neighbours.'* 

" Judge," said the Major, " have you read the Yellow 
Boo**"' 161 

44 What yellow book { " asked the Judge. 

" A book," said the Major, " that is better than all 
your statutes, and in it every other word is halter, 
Siberia, the knout ; the book of martial law, now pro- 
claimed throughout all Lithuania : your tribunals are 
now on the shelf. According to martial law, for such 
pranks you will at the very least be sent to hard labour 
in Siberia." 


" I appeal to the Governor," said the Judge* 

44 Appeal to the Emperor if you want to," said Plut* 
44 You know that when the Emperor confirms decrees, 
he often by his grace doubles the penalty. Appeal, 
and perhaps in case of need, my dear Judge, I shall 
get a good hold on you too* Jankiel, a spy whom the 
government has long been tracking, is a frequenter of 
your house and the tenant of your tavern* I may now 
put every one of you under arrest at once." 

44 Arrest me t " said the Judge* " How do you dare 
without orders t " 

And the dispute was becoming more and more lively, 
when a new guest rode into the farmyard* 

A strange throng was coming in* In front, like a 
courier, ran an immense black ram, whose brow bristled 
with four horns, two of which were decked with bells 
and curled about his ears, and two jutted out sidewise 
from his forehead and were hung with small, round, 
tinkling brass balls. After the ram came oxen and a 
flock of sheep and goats ; behind the cattle were four 
heavily loaded waggons* 

All divined that Father Robak, the Alms-Gatherer, 
had arrived* So the Judge, knowing his duty as host, 
took his stand on the threshold, to welcome the guest* 
The Monk rode on the first wain, his face half hidden 
by his cowl ; but they immediately recognised him, for, 
when he passed the prisoners, he turned his countenance 
towards them and made a sign to them with his finger. 
And the driver of the second wain was equally well 
known, old Maciek, the Switch, disguised as a peasant* 
The gentry began to shout as soon as he appeared ; he 
said only " Idiots ! " and imposed silence by a gesture. 
On the third waggon was the Prussian, in a torn over- 
coat ; and Zan and Mickiewics rode on the fourth* 


Meanwhile the Podhajskis and the Isajewiczes, the 
Birbasses, Wilbiks, Biergels, and Kotwiczes, seeing the 
Dobrzynskis under so severe constraint, began slowly 
to cool down from their former wrath ; for the Polish 
gentry, though beyond measure quarrelsome and eager 
for fighting, are nevertheless not vindictive. So they 
ran to old Maciej for counsel. He stationed the whole 
crowd about the waggons and told them to wait. 

The Bernardine entered the room. They hardly 
recognised him, though he had not changed his clothes 
his bearing was so different. He was ordinarily gloomy 
and thoughtful, but now he held his head high, and with 
a radiant mien, like a jolly monk, he laughed long before 
he began to talk : 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! My respects, my respects ! 
Ha ! ha ! ha ! Excellent, first-class ! Officers, some 
people hunt by day, but you by night ! The hunting 
was good ; I have seen the game. Pluck, pluck the 
gentry, peel them well ; bridle them, for the gentry 
sometimes kick ! I congratulate you, Major, that you 
have caught the young Count ; he is a fat morsel, a 
rich fellow, a young man of old family ; don't let him 
out of the cage without getting three hundred ducats 
for him ; and when you have them, give some three- 
pence for my monastery and for me, for I always pray 
for your soul. As I am a Bernardine, I am very anxious 
about your soul ! Death pulls even staff-officers by the 
ears. Baka 162 wrote well that Death seizes on sinners 
at dinners, and on silken frocks she often knocks, and 
monks' cowls she slashes like satin sashes, and the curls 
of girls she raps like shoulder-straps. Mother Death, 
says Baka, like an onion, brings tears from the dears she 
embraces, and fondles alike both the baby that drowses 
and the rake that carouses ! Ah ! ah ! Major, to-day 


we live and to-morrow we rot ; that only is ours which 
to-day we eat and drink ! Judge, doesn't it seem to you 
time for breakfast t I take my seat at the table, and beg 
all to be seated with me. Major, how about some stewed 
beef and gravy t Lieutenant, what's your idea t Should 
you like a bowl of good punch i " 

44 That's a fact, Father," said two officers ; " it's time 
to be eating, and to drink the Judge's health ! " 

The household, gazing at Robak, marvelled whence 
he had got such a bearing and such jollity. The Judge 
at once repeated the orders to the cook ; they brought 
in a bowl, sugar, bottles, and stewed beef. Plut and 
Rykov set to work briskly ; and so greedily did they 
feed and so copiously did they drink, that in a half hour 
they had eaten twenty-three plates of the stewed beef 
and emptied an enormous half bowl of punch. 

So the Major, full and merry, lolled in his chair, took 
out his pipe, lighted it with a bank note, and, wiping 
the breakfast from his lips with the end of a napkin, 
turned his laughing eyes on the women, and said : 

" Fair ladies, I like you as dessert ! By my major's 
epaulets, when a man has eaten breakfast, the best 
relish after the stewed beef is chatting with such fair 
ladies as you fair ladies ! I tell you what : let's have a 
game of cards, of vingt et un or whist ; or shall we start 
a mazurka i Hey, in the name of three hundred devils, 
why, I am the best dancer of the mazurka in the whole 
yager regiment ! " 

Thereupon he leaned forward closer to the ladies, and 
puffed out smoke and compliments by turns. 

44 Let's dance ! " cried Robak. " When I have finished 
my bottle, though a monk, I occasionally tuck up my 
gown, and dance a bit of a mazurka 1 But you see, Major, 
we are drinking here and the yagers are freezing there 


in the yard. Sport is sport ! Judge, give them a keg of 
brandy ; the Major will permit it ; let the bold yagers 
have a drink ! " 

44 I might beg the favour/* said the Major, " but you 
are not forced to grant it/' 

44 Judge/' whispered Robak, " give 'em a keg of 

And thus, while the merry staff tippled in the mansion, 
outside the house there began a drinking bout among the 

Captain Rykov drained cup after cup in silence ; 
but the Major drank and at the same time paid court 
to the ladies, and the ardour for dancing continually 
increased within him. He threw aside his pipe and 
seized Telimena's hand ; he was eager to dance, but 
she ran away ; so he went up to Zosia, and bowing and 
tottering invited her to open the mazurka, 

44 Hey you, Rykov, stop pulling at your pipe ! Put 
away your pipe ; you play the balalaika well. You see 
that guitar there ; go, get the guitar and give us a 
mazurka I I, the Major, will lead out in the first 

The Captain took the guitar and began to tune it; 
Plut again urged Telimena to dance : 

44 On the word of a Major, madam, I am not a Russian 
if I lie ! May I be the son of a bitch if I lie ! Ask, and 
all the officers will bear witness, all the army will tell 
you that in the second army, ninth corps, second division 
of infantry, fiftieth yager regiment, Major Plut is the 
foremost dancer of the mazurka. Come on, young lady ! 
Don't be so skittish, for I shall punish you in officer's 

So saying he jumped up, seized Telimena's hand, and 
imprinted a broad kiss on her white shoulder ; but 


Thaddeus, darting in from the side, slapped his face. 
The kiss and the blow resounded together, one after 
the other, as word after word. 

The Major was dumbfounded, rubbed his eyes, and, 
pale with wrath, shouted, " Rebellion, a rebel ! " 
and, drawing his sword, rushed to run him through. 
Then the Monk took a pistol from his sleeve, and cried : 
" Shoot, Thaddeus, aim for the bull's eye/' Thaddeus 
at once seized it, aimed, and shot ; he missed, but he 
deafened and scorched the Major. Rykov started up with 
his guitar, crying, " Rebellion ! rebellion ! " and made 
for Thaddeus ; but from the other side of the table the 
Seneschal swung his arm with a left-hand motion, and 
a knife whistled through the air between the heads of 
the company and struck before they saw it flash. It 
struck the bottom of the guitar and pierced it through 
and through ; Rykov dodged and thus escaped death, 
but he was frightened ; with a cry of " Yagers ! Re- 
bellion ! In God's name ! " he drew his sword, and, 
defending himself, he retreated to the threshold. 

Then on the other side of the room many of the gentry 
poured in through the windows with swords, Switch 
at their head. In the hall Plut and Rykov behind him 
were calling the soldiers ; already the three nearest the 
house were running to their aid ; already three glittering 
bayonets were gliding through the door, and behind 
them there were bent forward three black helmets. 
Maciek stood by the door with his switch raised on 
high, and, squeezing close to the wall, lay in wait for 
them as a cat for rats ; then he struck a fearful blow. 
Perhaps he would have felled three heads, but the old 
man either had poor eyesight, or else he was too much 
wrought up ; since, before they put forward their necks, 
he smote on their helmets, and stripped them off; 


the switch, falling, clinked on the bayonets. The 
Muscovites started back, and Maciek drove them out 
to the yard. 

There the confusion was still worse. There the 
partisans of the Soplicas vied with each other in setting 
free the Dobrzynskis by tearing apart the beams. Seeing 
this, the yagers seized their arms and made for them ; 
a sergeant rushed ahead and transfixed Podhajski with 
a bayonet ; he wounded two others of the gentry and 
was shooting at a third ; they fled : this was close to 
the log in which Baptist was fastened. He already had 
his arms free and ready for fight ; he rose, lifted his 
hand with its long fingers and clenched his fist ; and 
from above he gave the Russian such a blow on the 
back that he knocked his face and temples into the lock 
of his carbine. The lock clicked, but the powder, 
moist with blood, did not catch ; the sergeant fell on 
his arms at the feet of Baptist. Baptist bent down, 
seized the carbine by the barrel, and, brandishing it like 
his sprinkling-brush, lifted it aloft ; he whirled it 
about and straightway smote two privates on the 
shoulders and gave a corporal a blow on the head ; the 
rest, terrified, recoiled in dismay from the log : thus 
Sprinkler sheltered the gentry with a moving roof. 

Then they pulled apart the logs and cut the cords ; 
the gentry, once free, descended upon the waggons 
of the Alms-Gatherer, and from them procured swords, 
sabres, cutlasses, scythes, and guns. Bucket found 
two blunderbusses and a bag of bullets ; he poured 
some of these into his own blunderbuss ; the other 
gun he loaded in the same way and gave over to Buzzard. 

More yagers arrived, fell into disorder, and knocked 
against one another ; the gentry in the tumult could not 
cut and slash ; the yagers could not shoot, for they 


were fighting hand to hand* Like tooth on tooth, steel 
on steel clashed and snapped ; bayonet broke on sabre 
and scythe on sword hilt ; fist met fist and arm met arm. 

But Rykov, with a part of the yagers, ran up to where 
the barn adjoined the fence ; there he made a stand 
and called to his soldiers that they should stop so 
disorderly a fight, since, without having a chance to 
use their weapons, they were falling beneath the fists 
of the enemy. Angry that he himself could not fire, for 
in the press he could not distinguish Muscovites from 
Poles, he shouted, " Fall in " (which means form in 
line) ; but his command could not be heard in the midst 
of the shouting* 

Old Maciek, who was not good at hand to hand 
combat, retreated, clearing a place before him to the 
right and to the left ; now with the tip of his sabre he 
sheared a bayonet from a gun barrel as a wick from a 
candle ; now with a slashing blow from the left he cut 
or stabbed. Thus the cautious Maciek retired to the 
open field* 

But an old corporal, who was the instructor of the 
regiment, a great master of the bayonet, pressed upon 
him with the utmost obstinacy ; he gathered himself 
together, bent down, and grasped his carbine with both 
hands, holding the right on the lock and the left at the 
middle of the barrel ; he dodged and skipped, and at 
times crouched down ; he let go with his left hand, and 
thrust forward the weapon with his right, like the sting 
from the jaws of a serpent ; and again he withdrew it 
and rested it on his knees ; and thus dodging and 
jumping he pressed upon Maciek, 

Old Maciek appreciated the skill of his adversary, 
and with his left hand adjusted his spectacles on his 
nose ; with his right he held the hilt of his switch close 


to his breast, and withdrew, following the motions of 
the corporal with his eyes ; he himself tottered on his 
legs as though he were drunk* The corporal pressed on 
the more quickly; sure of his triumph, and in order 
the more easily to reach his retiring foe, he arose and 
stretched forward his right arm at full length, pushing 
forward his carbine ; he made such an effort in thrusting 
with his heavy weapon, that he even leaned forward. 
Maciek shoved the hilt of his sword just under the spot 
where the bayonet is set upon the gun barrel, and 
knocked up the weapon ; then, suddenly lowering his 
switch, he wounded the Muscovite in the arm, and 
again, with a slash from the left, cut through his jaw. 
Thus fell the corporal, the finest fencer among the 
Muscovites, a cavalier of three crosses and four medals. 

Meanwhile, near the logs, the left wing of the gentry 
was already near victory. There fought Sprinkler, 
visible from afar, there Razor hovered around the 
Muscovites ; the latter slashed at their waists, the 
former pounded their heads. As a machine that German 
workmen have invented and that is called a thrasher, 
but is at the same time a chopper it has chains and 
knives, and cuts up the straw and thrashes the grain at 
the same time so did Sprinkler and Razor work 
together, slaughtering their enemies, one from above 
and the other from below. 

But Sprinkler now abandoned sure victory and ran 
to the right wing, where a new danger was threatening 
Maciek. Eager to avenge the death of the corporal, an 
ensign was attacking him with a long spontoon the 
spontoon is a combination of pike and axe, now dis- 
carded, and employed only in the fleet, but then it was 
used also in the infantry. The ensign, a young man, 
ran nimbly back and forth ; whenever his adversary 


beat the weapon to one side, he retired ; Maciek, not 
being able to drive off the young man, was obliged merely 
to defend himself without inflicting wounds. Already 
the ensign had given him a slight wound with the spear ; 
already, raising the halberd aloft, he was collecting 
himself for a blow. Baptist was unable to reach him in 
time, but stopping half way, he whirled his weapon, and 
cast it under the feet of his enemy ; he broke a bone, 
and the ensign immediately dropped the spontoon from 
his hands. He staggered ; Baptist rushed on him, and 
after him a throng of gentry, and after the gentry the 
Muscovites from the left wing ran up in disorder, and 
the battle raged around Sprinkler, 

Baptist, who had lost his arms in defence of Maciek, 
almost paid for that service with his life ; for two strong 
Muscovites fell on him from behind, and twisted four 
hands at once into his hair ; bracing their feet, they 
pulled as on springy cables, hitched to the mast of a 
barge. In vain Sprinkler struck out blindly behind him ; 
he tottered but suddenly he saw that Gerwazy was 
fighting close by ; he shouted, " Jesus Maria ! the 
penknife ! " 

The Warden, hearing Baptist's cry, knew that he was 
in mortal terror ; he turned back, and plunged the sharp 
steel blade between the head of Baptist and the hands 
of the Muscovites, They withdrew, uttering piercing 
cries, but one hand, more firmly entwined in the hair, 
remained hanging and spurted forth blood. Thus an 
eagle, when it buries one talon in a hare, catches with 
the other at a tree, in order to hold back the beast ; but 
the hare, pulling, splits the eagle in two ; the right talon 
remains on the tree in the forest ; the left, covered with 
blood, the beast bears away to the fields. 

Sprinkler, free once more, cast his eyes about, 


stretched out his hands, sought for a weapon, shouted 
for a weapon ; meanwhile he brandished his fists, 
standing his ground manfully, but keeping close to the 
side of Gerwazy, until he caught sight of his son 
Buzzard in the press. Buzzard with his right hand was 
aiming a blunderbuss, and with his left was pulling after 
him a great club, a fathom long, armed with flints and 
knobs and knots* 163 (No one could have lifted it except 
Baptist.) Baptist, when he saw his darling weapon, his 
sprinkling-brush, seized it, kissed it, jumped into the 
air for joy, whirled* it over his head and straightway 
moistened it. 

What deeds he then performed, what disasters he 
spread abroad, it were vain to sing, for none would 
believe the Muse : even so they did not believe the poor 
woman in Wilno, who, standing on the summit of the 
holy Ostra Gate, saw how Deyov, the Muscovite general, 
coming on with a regiment of Cossacks, was already 
opening the gate, and how a single burgher, named 
Czarnobacki, killed Deyov and routed a whole regiment 
of Cossacks. 164 

Suffice it to say, that things came to pass as Rykov 
had foreseen ; the yagers in the crowd yielded to the 
power of their foes. Twenty-three rolled slain on the 
ground, thirty and more lay groaning with frequent 
wounds, many fled and hid in the garden, the hops, or 
along the river ; some took refuge in the house under 
the protection of the women. 

The victorious gentry ran with a cry of joy, some to 
the casks, others to tear booty from the enemy ; Robak 
alone did not share their exultation. Hitherto he had 
not fought himself (for the canons forbid a priest to 
take part in combat), but as an experienced man he had 
been giving counsel, had run about the battlefield in all 


directions, and with his glance and his arm had urged 
on and guided those who were fighting. And now he 
shouted for them to assemble around him, attack 
Rykov, and complete the victory. Meanwhile by a 
messenger he informed Rykov that if he would lay 
down his arms he would preserve his life ; but, in case 
the surrender of arms were delayed, Robak gave orders 
to surround the remnant and cut them down. 

Captain Rykov was far from asking quarter. Gather- 
ing about him half a battalion, he shouted, " Ready ! " 
Immediately the line seised their carbines and the arms 
rattled ; they had long since been loaded. He shouted, 
" Aim ! " and the barrels glittered in a long row. He 
shouted, " Fire in turn ! " and one report followed 
another ; one man shot, another loaded, a third clutched 
his musket. One could hear the whistling of bullets, 
the rattle of locks, the clink of ramrods ; the whole line 
seemed to be a moving reptile, which moved a thousand 
glittering legs at the same time. 

To be sure, the yagers were drunk with strong liquor ; 
they aimed poorly and missed their mark ; few inflicted 
wounds and hardly a single one killed his man : how- 
ever, two of the Maciejs were already wounded, and one 
of the Bartlomiejs had fallen. The gentry replied but 
sparingly from their few guns, and were eager to attack 
the enemy with swords ; but the older men restrained 
them : each moment the bullets whistled, struck, and 
forced the gentry to retreat soon they would have 
cleared the yard ; already they began to ring on the 
windows of the house. 

Thaddeus, who by his uncle's orders had remained 
in the house to protect the women, hearing how the 
battle was becoming ever fiercer and fiercer, ran out, and 
after him rushed the Chamberlain, to whom Thomas 


had at last brought his sabre ; he hurriedly joined the 
gentry and took his place at their head. He ran forward, 
raising his weapon, and the gentry moved after him. 
The yagers, letting them come near, poured upon them 
a hail of bullets ; Isajewicz, Wilbik, and Razor fell 
wounded ; then the gentry were checked by Robak on 
one side and Maciej on the other. The gentry cooled in 
their ardour, glanced about, and retired ; the Muscovites 
saw this, and Captain Rykov planned to give the final 
blow, to drive the gentry from the yard and seize the 

" Form for the attack ! " he cried. " Charge bayonets ! 
Forward ! " 

Immediately the line, levelling their gun barrels like 
poles, bent down their heads, moved on and quickened 
their step ; in vain the gentry endeavoured to check 
them from in front and shot from the side ; the line 
passed over half the yard without resistance. The 
Captain, pointing with his sword to the door of the 
mansion, shouted : 

" Surrender, Judge, or I will order your house to be 
burned ! " 

41 Burn it," cried the Judge, " and I will roast you in 
that fire ! " 

O mansion of Soplicowo ! if thy white walls are still 
whole and glitter beneath the lindens ; if a throng of 
the neighbouring gentry still sit at the Judge's hospitable 
board, they surely often drink the health of Bucket, for 
without him Soplicowo would to-day be no more ! 

Bucket had so far given few proofs of valour. Though 
he was the first of the gentry to be freed from the stocks, 
and though he had straightway found in the waggon his 
darling bucket, his favourite blunderbuss, and with it a 
pouch of bullets, he did not care to fight. He said that 


he did not trust himself when dry, and so he went to a 
cask of spirits standing near, and, using his hand as a 
spoon, dipped up a stream into his lips* Only when 
he had well warmed and strengthened himself did he 
adjust his cap, take up his bucket from his knees, ram 
home a charge, sprinkle the pan, and gaze at the battle- 
field* He saw that a glittering wave of bayonets was 
smiting and dispersing the gentry, and he swam to meet 
that wave ; he bent down and dived through the dense 
grass, across the centre of the yard, until he paused in 
ambush where the nettles were growing ; with gestures 
he summoned Buzzard* 

Buzzard, who was on guard at the mansion, was 
standing with his blunderbuss by the threshold, for in 
that mansion dwelt his dear Zosia, whom he loved 
eternally (though she had scorned his courtship), and in 
whose defence he was glad to perish* 

The line of yagers was already entering the nettles, 
on the march, when Bucket touched the trigger, and 
from the broad mouth of his blunderbuss let fly a dozen 
chopped bullets into the midst of the Muscovites ; 
Buzzard let fly another dozen, and the yagers fell into 
confusion. Dismayed by the ambuscade, the line folded 
back into a disorderly mass, retreated, and abandoned 
the wounded ; Baptist finished their slaughter* 

The barn was already far off ; fearing a long retreat, 
Rykov made for the garden fence, and there checked 
his fleeing company in its course* He drew them up, 
but changed their formation ; instead of a line he made 
a triangle, with its point to the front and its base pro- 
tected by the garden fence* He did well, for the cavalry 
descended on him from the castle. 

The Count, who had been in the castle under the 
guard of the Muscovites, when his terrified guards had 


dispersed, had mounted his followers, and hearing 
shots, was leading his cavalry into the firing line, 
himself at their head, with his steel raised aloft. At 
once Rykov cried, " Platoon fire ! " A fiery thread flew 
along over the locks, and from the black levelled barrels 
three hundred bullets whistled* Three riders fell 
wounded, and one lay dead. The Count's steed fell, 
and the Count with it ; with a cry the Warden ran to 
the rescue, for he saw that the yagers had aimed at the 
last of the Horeszkos though in the female line. Robak 
was nearer, and covered the Count with his body ; he 
received the bullets in his stead, drew him from under 
his horse, and led him away ; but the gentry he bade 
disperse, take better aim, spare vain shots, and hide 
behind the fences, the well, and the walls of the stable. 
The Count and his cavalry had to wait a more fitting 

Thaddeus comprehended Robak's plans and carried 
them out splendidly, seeking cover behind the wooden 
well ; and, since he was sober and was a fine shot with 
his fowling piece (for he could hit a gold coin thrown 
in the air), he did terrible execution on the Muscovites, 
picking out their chiefs ; with his first shot he at once 
killed the sergeant-major. Then with his two barrels, 
one after the other, he mowed down two sergeants, 
aiming now at the gold lace, now at the middle of the 
triangle, where stood the staff. Thereupon Rykov grew 
angry and chafed ; he stamped his feet and bit the hilt 
of his sword. 

44 Major Plut," he cried, " what will come of 
this t Soon not one of us will be left here to give 
orders ! " 

So Plut shouted at Thaddeus in great wrath : 

44 Shame on you, you Pole, for hiding behind a plank 



shelter ; don't be a coward, come out into the open and 
fight honourably, as a soldier should/' 

To this Thaddeus replied : 

44 Major, if you are so bold a knight, why do you hide 
behind a company of yagers ^ I am not afraid of you 
come out from behind the fence ; you have had your 
face slapped, but still I am ready to fight with you ! 
Why all this bloodshed t The quarrel was between us 
two ; so let the pistol or the sword settle it. I give you 
your choice of weapons, from a cannon to a pin. Other- 
wise, I will shoot you and your men like wolves in a 


So saying, he shot, and aimed so well that he hit the 
lieutenant by Rykov's side. 

44 Major," whispered Rykov, 44 go out and fight a duel 
with him, and take vengeance on him for what he did 
some time ago. If anybody else kills that young gentle- 
man, then, Major, you see that you will not wash off 
your disgrace. You must coax out that gentleman into 
the field ; if you can't kill him with a carbine, you may 
with a sword. Old Suvorov used to say, 4 Rifles are 
trifles, but hand arms are grand arms/ Go out into the 
field, Major, for he is shooting at us ; look, he is aiming 

44 Rykov, my dear friend," replied the Major, 44 you 
are a fine boy with a sword ; go out yourself, brother 
Rykov or, I tell you what, we will send one of our 
lieutenants. I, the Major, I cannot desert the soldiers ; 
to me belongs the command of the battalion." 

Rykov, hearing this, lifted his sword and went out 
boldly ; he ordered the firing to cease and waved a 
white handkerchief. He asked Thaddeus what weapon 
he preferred ; after discussion, they agreed on swords. 
Thaddeus had no weapon ; while they were looking for 


swords, the Count rushed out armed and interrupted 
the negotiations, 

94 Pan Soplica," he shouted, 44 begging your pardon, 
you challenged the Major ! I have a grudge of longer 
standing against the Captain ; he has broken into my 
castle " " Please say our castle/' interrupted Protazy 
" at the head of a band of robbers/' the Count con- 
cluded, " He I recognised Rykov tied up my 
jockeys ; I will punish him as I punished the brigands 
beneath the crag that the Sicilians call Birbante- 

All became silent, and the firing ceased ; the armies 
gazed eagerly at the meeting of their leaders. The Count 
and Rykov advanced, standing sidewise, threatening 
each other with the right hand and the right eye ; then 
with their left hands they uncovered their heads and 
bowed courteously it is the custom of men of honour, 
before proceeding to murder, first to exchange greet- 
ings. Their swords were already crossed and had begun 
to clash. The knights, each lifting one foot, bent 
their right knees, and jumped forward and back by 

But Plut, seeing Thaddeus in front of his line, had a 
quiet consultation with Corporal Gont, who passed for 
the best shot in the company. 

" Gont/' said the Major, " you see that rascal there ; 
if you will put a bullet into him right under the fifth 
rib I'll give you four silver rubles." 

Gont cocked his carbine and bent over the lock ; his 
faithful comrades sheltered him with their cloaks. He 
aimed, not at the rib, but at the head of Thaddeus ; 
he shot and hit the centre of his hat, close to his mark. 
Thaddeus whirled about, then Sprinkler rushed on 
Rykov, and after him the gentry, crying " Treason ! " 


Though Thaddeus shielded him, Rykov barely managed 
to retreat and find refuge in the centre of his ranks. 

Again the Dobrzynskis and the other Lithuanians 
vied with one another in pressing forward, and, despite 
the former disagreements of the two factions, they 
fought like brothers, each urging on his comrade. The 
Dobrzynskis, seeing how a Podhajski was prancing 
before the line of yagers and slashing them with his 
scythe, shouted joyfully : " Long live the Podhajskis ! 
Forward, brother Lithuanians ! hurrah ! hurrah for 
Lithuania ! " And the Skolubas, seeing how the valiant 
Razor, despite his wound, was dashing on with his 
sabre raised aloft, cried : " Hurrah for the Macieks ! 
long live the Masovians ! " Inspiring one another with 
courage, they ran upon the Muscovites ; in vain Robak 
and Maciek tried to restrain them* 

While they were thus smiting the company of yagers 
from the front, the Seneschal abandoned the battlefield 
and went into the garden. By his side strode the 
cautious Protasry, to whom the Seneschal was quietly 
issuing orders. 

In the garden, close to the fence against which Rykov 
had supported his triangle, stood a large old cheese 
house, built of lattice work made of beams nailed across 
one another, like a cage. In it there shone many scores of 
white cheeses ; around them bunches of sage, bennet, 
cardoon, and wild thyme hung drying, the entire herb 
apothecary shop of the Seneschal's daughter. The cheese 
house was some twenty feet square, but it rested only on 
a single great pillar, like a stork's nest. The old oaken 
pillar slanted, for it was already half decayed, and 
threatened to fall. The Judge had often been advised to 
destroy the age-worn structure, but he always said that 
he preferred to repair it rather than to destroy it, or even 


to rebuild it. He kept postponing the task to a more con- 
venient season, and in the meantime bade put two props 
under the pillar. The structure, thus strengthened, but 
still not firm, looked over the fence at Rykov's triangle. 

Toward this cheese house the Seneschal and the 
Apparitor walked silently, each armed with an immense 
pole, as with a pike ; after them the housekeeper stole 
through the hemp, with the scullion, a small but very 
strong lad. Arriving at the spot, they rested their poles 
against the rotted top of the pillar, and, clinging to the 
ends, pushed with 'all their might, as when boatmen 
with long poles push from the bank into the deep water 
a barge that has grounded on a reef. 

The pillar snapped, and the cheese house tottered 
and fell with its load of beams and cheeses on the triangle 
of Muscovites ; it crushed, wounded, and killed ; where 
the ranks had just now been standing lay beams, corpses, 
and cheeses white as snow, stained with blood and 
brains. The triangle was shattered into bits, and now 
in the centre of it the sprinkling-brush thundered, the 
razor flashed, and the switch slashed ; from the mansion 
rushed a throng of gentry, and the Count from the yard 
gate sent his cavalry against the scattered fugitives. 

Now, only eight yagers with a sergeant at their head 
still defended themselves ; the Warden ran against 
them, but they boldly stood their ground and aimed 
nine musket barrels straight at the brow of the Warden ; 
he flew to meet the shot, brandishing the blade of his 
penknife. The Monk saw it, and ran across Gerwazy's 
path ; he fell and tripped Gerwazy. They fell at the 
very moment when the platoon fired ; hardly had the 
bullets whistled over him, when Gerwazy rose, and 
jumped up into the smoke. He straightway sheared off 
the heads of two yagers ; the rest fled in confusion, the 


Warden chased and slashed them* They ran across the 
yard, Gerwazy on their track ; they rushed into the 
door of a shed standing open, and Gerwazy entered 
the shed at their heels. He vanished in the darkness, 
but did not quit fighting, for through the door could 
be heard groans, yells, and frequent blows. Soon all 
became silent ; Gerwazy came out alone, with a bloody 

Now the gentry had won the field ; they pursued, 
slashed, and stabbed the dispersed yagers. Rykov alone 
remained, and cried that he would not lay down his 
arms ; he was still fighting, when the Chamberlain 
went up to him, and, raising his sabre, said in an 
impressive tone : 

44 Captain, you will not soil your honour by accepting 
quarter ; unhappy, but valiant knight, you have given 
ample proof of your daring : now abandon hopeless 
resistance ; lay down your arms, before we disarm you 
with our sabres. You will preserve life and honour ; 
you are my prisoner." 

Rykov, overcome by the dignity of the Chamberlain, 
complied, and gave over to him his naked sword, 
bloody to the hilt, saying : 

44 Brother Poles, woe is me that I did not have even 
a single cannon ! Suvorov said well : 4 Remember, 
comrade Rykov, never to attack the Poles without 
cannon ! ' Well ! The yagers were drunk, the Major 
let them drink ! Ah, Major Plut ! He has played sad 
tricks to-day. He will answer for them to the Tsar, for 
he was in command. I will be your friend, Chamber- 
lain. There is a Russian proverb, Chamberlain, ' Who 
loves well, shoves well.' You are good at a bottle and 
good at a battle but stop playing your rough jokes on 
my yagers." 


Hearing this, the Chamberlain raised his sabre and, 
through the Apparitor, proclaimed a general pardon ; 
he gave orders to tend the wounded, to clear the field of 
troops, and to disarm and imprison the yagers* They 
searched long for Plut ; he had buried himself deep in a 
nettle bush and lay there as if dead ; at last he came out 
when he saw that the battle was over* 

Thus ended the last foray in Lithuania. 166 



Consultation in regard to securing the fortunes of the victors Negotia- 
tions with Rykov The farewell An important discovery Hope. 

THE morning clouds, dispersed for a moment, like black 
birds, kept gathering and flying towards the summit 
of the heavens ; hardly had the sun declined from 
noon when their flock had covered half the sky with 
an immense mantle ; the wind drove it on faster and 
faster, the cloud grew more and more dense and hung 
lower and lower : finally, half torn away from the sky 
on one side, bending towards the earth, and spread out 
far and wide like a great sail, it gathered into itself all 
the winds and flew over the sky from the south to the 

There was an instant of calm, and the air became 
dull and silent, as if dumb with terror. And the fields 
of grain, which just before, bowing to the earth and 
again shaking their golden ears on high, had tossed like 
waves, now stood motionless and gazed at the sky with 
bristling stalks. And the green willows and poplars by 
the roadside, which, like mourners by an open grave, 
had been bowing their heads to the earth, and brandish- 
ing their long arms, with their silver tresses spread out 
on the winds, now stood as if dead, with an expression 
of dumb grief like the statue of Niobe on Sipylos. Only 
the trembling aspen shook its grey leaves. 

The cattle, usually loath to return homeward, now 



rushed together, and, without waiting for their keepers, 
deserted their pasturage and ran towards the barn. 
The bull dug up the ground with his hoof and ploughed 
it with his horns, frightening all the herd with his ill- 
omened bellowing ; the cow kept raising her large eyes 
to the sky, opening her mouth in wonder, and lowing 
deeply. But the boar lagged behind, fretting and gnash- 
ing his teeth, and stole sheaves of grain and seized them 
for his stores. 

The birds hid in the woods, in the thatched roofs, in 
the depths of the* grass ; the ravens, surrounding the 
ponds in flocks, walked to and fro with measured steps ; 
they turned their black eyes on the black clouds, and, 
protruding their tongues from their broad, dry throats 
and spreading out their wings, they awaited their bath. 
Yet even they, foreseeing too fierce a storm, already 
were making for the wood, like a rising cloud. The last 
of the birds, the swallow, made bold by its fleetness of 
wing, pierced the cloud like an arrow, and finally dropped 
from it like a bullet. 

Just at that moment the gentry had finished their 
terrible combat with the Muscovites, and one and all 
were seeking shelter in the houses and stables, deserting 
the battlefield, where soon the elements joined in 

To the west, the earth, still gilded by the sun, shone 
with a gloomy, yellowish-red tint ; already the cloud, 
spreading out its shadows like a net, was catching the 
remnants of the light and flying after the sun as if it 
wished to seize upon it before it set. Blasts of wind 
whistled sharply below ; they rushed by, one after 
another, bringing drops of rain, large, clear, and rounded 
as hailstones. 

Suddenly the winds grappled, split asunder, struggled, 


whirled about, and in whistling columns circled over 
the ponds, stirring the waters in the ponds to their 
depths ; they fell upon the meadows and whistled 
through the willows and the grass. The willow branches 
snapped, the swaths of grass were borne on the wind 
like hair torn out by handfuls, mixed with ringlets from 
the sheaves. The winds howled ; they fell upon the 
field, wallowed, dug into the earth, snatched up clods, 
and made an opening for a third wind, which tore itself 
from the field like a pillar of black earth, and rose and 
whirled like a moving pyramid, boring into the ground 
with its brow and from its feet sprinkling sand in the 
eyes of the stars ; it broadened at every step and opened 
out at the summit, and with its immense trumpet it 
proclaimed the storm. At last with all this chaos of 
water and dust, of straw, leaves, branches, and torn-up 
sod, the winds smote on the forest and roared through 
the depths of the thicket like bears. 

And now the rain poured as from a sieve, in great, 
swift drops ; then the thunder roared and the drops 
united ; now like straight strings they bound the sky 
to the earth with long tresses ; now, as from buckets, 
they poured down in great masses. Now the sky and 
the earth were quite hidden ; the night, and the storm 
more black than night, shrouded them. At times the 
horizon cracked from side to side, and the angel of the 
storm, like an immense sun, showed his glittering face ; 
and again, wrapped in a shroud, he fled into the sky and 
the doors of the clouds crashed together with a thunder- 
clap. Again the gale increased and the driving rain, and 
the dense, thick, almost impenetrable darkness. Again 
the drops murmured more gently, the thunder for a 
moment subsided ; again it awoke and roared and 
water once more gushed forth. At last all became calm ; 


one heard only the soughing of the trees around the 
house and the patter of the rain* 

On a day such as had just passed the wildest storm 
was to be desired, since the tempest, which covered 
the battlefield with darkness, drenched the roads and 
destroyed the bridges over the river, and made of the 
farm an inaccessible fortress. So of what had been done 
in the Soplicas' camp the news could not spread abroad 
on that day and it was precisely upon secrecy that the 
fate of the gentry depended. 

In the Judge's room an important consultation was in 
progress. The Bernardine lay on the bed, exhausted, 
pale, and blood-stained, but wholly sound in his mind ; 
he issued orders and the Judge carried them out to the 
letter. He invited the Chamberlain to join them, 
summoned the Warden, had Rykov brought in, and 
then shut the door. For a whole hour the secret con- 
versation continued, until Captain Rykov, throwing on 
the table a heavy purse of ducats, interrupted it with 
these words : 

44 My Polish friends, it is common talk among you 
that every Muscovite is a rascal : now tell any one who 
asks, that you have found a Muscovite who was named 
Nikita Nikitich Rykov, a captain in the army, and who 
wore eight medals and three crosses I beg you re- 
member that. This medal was for Ochakov, 166 this 
for Izmailov, 167 this for the battle at Novi, 168 this for 
Preisizh-Ilov ; 169 that for Korsakov's famous retreat 
from Zurich. 170 And tell them that he received also a 
sword for valour, and likewise three expressions of 
approval from the field-marshal, two compliments from 
the Emperor, and four honourable mentions, all in 

44 But, but, captain," interrupted Robak, 4< what is 


going to happen to us if you will not come to terms t 
You know that you have given your word to hush up 
this matter." 

44 Certainly, and I will give my word again/' said 
Rykov ; " there you have it ! Why should I want to 
ruin you t I am an honest man ; I like you Poles, for 
you are jolly fellows, good at a bottle, and likewise bold 
fellows, good at a battle. We have a Russian saying : 
4 Who rides in the cart often falls under the cart ; who is 
in front to-day may be behind to-morrow ; to-day you 
beat and to-morrow they beat you/ Why be angry over 
it $* Such is the way of life among us soldiers. Why 
should a man be so mean as to be angry over a defeat ! 
The fight at Ochakov was bloody, at Zurich they crushed 
our infantry, at Austerlitt I lost my whole company ; 
but before that, when I was a sergeant, your Kosciussko 
cut up my platoon with scythes at Raclawice. 171 What 
did it matter i* Later on, at Maciejowice 172 I killed 
with my own bayonet two brave gentlemen ; one of 
them was Mokronowski, who was advancing with a 
scythe in front of his troops and who had cut off the 
hand of a cannoneer, with the match in it. Ah, you 
Poles 1 The Fatherland ! I feel it all, I, Rykov. The 
Tsar gives the order but I am sorry for you. What 
have we against the Poles t Let Moscow be for the 
Muscovites and Poland for the Poles ! But what is to 
be done t The Tsar will not permit it ! " 

The Judge replied to him : 

44 Captain, that you are an honest man all in this 
district know, where you have been quartered for many 
years. Good friend, be not angry at this gift ; we did 
not wish to offend you. These ducats we have ventured 
to collect because we know that you are not a rich man/' 

44 O my yagers ! " cried Rykov, " the whole company 


cut to pieces ! My company ! And all the fault of that 
Plut ! He was the chief in command ; he will have to 
answer for it to the Tsar* But, gentlemen, take those 
pennies for yourselves ; I have my captain's pay, such 
as it is enough for my punch and for a pipe of tobacco. 
But I like you, gentlemen, because with you I eat, 
drink, and am merry with you I can have a friendly 
talk, and thus my life passes. So I will protect you, and 
when the inquiry comes up, on my word of honour, I 
will testify in your favour. We will say that we came 
here on a visit, ha*d a drink, danced, got a trifle tipsy, 
and that Plut accidentally gave the word to fire ; then 
came a battle, and the battalion somehow melted away. 
If you gentlemen will only grease the inquiry with gold 
it will come out all right. But now I will repeat to you 
what I have already said to that gentleman with the 
long sword, that Plut is the first in command, I the 
second ; Plut is still alive, and he may play you a trick 
that will be your ruin, for he is a cunning specimen 
you need to stuff his mouth with bank notes. Well, my 
friend, you with the long sword, have you called on 
Plut already i Have you had a talk with him t " 

Gerwasy looked around and stroked his bald pate ; 
he made a careless motion of his hand as if to signify 
that he had already arranged the whole matter. But 
Rykov persisted : 

" Well, will Plut keep quiet 1 Has he given his word 
to do so < " 

The Warden, vexed that Rykov should torment him 
with questions, solemnly bent down his thumb to the 
ground, and then, with a wave of the hand, as if to cut 
short further discourse, he said : 

44 I swear by my penknife that Plut will not betray us ! 
He will talk no more with any one ! " 


Then he let his hands fall and cracked his fingers, as 
if he were shaking the whole mystery out of his hands* 

This dark gesture the hearers understood ; they 
began to gaze in amazement at one another, each trying 
to guess his neighbour's thoughts, and the gloomy 
silence lasted for several minutes. At last Rykov said : 

44 The wolf was a robber, and robbers have caught 
him ! " 

" Requiescat in pace," added the Chamberlain. 

" In this was the finger of God ! " said the Judge. 
" But I am not guilty of this blood ; I did not know of 

The Monk rose on the pillows and sat up with gloomy 
mien. At last he said, looking sharply at the Warden : 

" It is a great sin to slay an unarmed captive ! Christ 
forbids us to take vengeance even on our enemies ! Ah ! 
Warden, you will answer heavily for this to God. There 
is but one ground of pardon if the deed was done not 
from stupid vengeance but pro publico bono" 

The Warden made a motion with his head and with 
his outstretched hand, and, blinking, repeated, "Pro 
publico bono" 

There was no more talk of Major Plut. Next day they 
sought vainly for him in the yard, and vainly offered a 
reward for his body : the Major had perished without 
leaving a trace behind, as though he had fallen into 
the water ; as to what had become of him there were 
various rumours, but no one knew with certainty, either 
then or later. In vain they tormented the Warden with 
questions ; he said nothing but these words, 44 Pro 
publico bono" The Seneschal was in the secret, but, 
bound by his word of honour, the old man kept silent 
as if under a spell. 

After the conclusion of the agreement, Rykov left the 


room and Robak had the warrior gentry called in, to 
whom the Chamberlain gravely discoursed as follows : 

" Brothers, to-day God has favoured our arms, but I 
must confess to you in plain terms that evil results will 
follow these untimely battles. We have erred, and each 
one of us here is to some degree at fault : the Monk 
Robak, for spreading tidings too zealously ; the Warden 
and the gentry, for completely misunderstanding them. 
The war with Russia will not begin for some time ; 
meanwhile, those who took the most active part in the 
battle cannot without danger remain in Lithuania* So, 
gentlemen, you must flee to the Grand Duchy of War- 
saw ; to be specific : Maciej, called Baptist, Thaddeus, 
Bucket, and Razor must depart over the Niemen, where 
the hosts of our nation await them. We will throw the 
whole blame on you who are gone, and on Plut, and 
thus we shall save the rest of your kindred. I bid you 
farewell, but not for long ; there are sure hopes that 
in spring the dawn of freedom will arise for us, and 
Lithuania, who now bids you farewell as wanderers, 
will soon behold you again as her victorious deliverers. 
The Judge is preparing everything needful for the 
journey, and, so far as I am able, I will aid you with 
money. " 

The gentry felt that the Chamberlain counselled 
wisely. It is well known that whoever has once 
quarrelled with the Russian Tsar, can never conclude a 
lasting peace with him on this earth, and must either 
fight or rot in Siberia. So, saying nothing, they looked 
gloomily at one another and sighed ; in token of agree- 
ment they nodded their heads. 

The Pole, though famous among the nations because 
he loves his native land more than life, is nevertheless 
always prepared to abandon it, and to travel to the ends 


of the earth, to live long years in poverty and contempt, 
struggling with men and with fate so long as amid the 
storm there shines upon him this hope, that he is 
serving the Fatherland, 

They declared that they were ready to depart at once. 
However, this plan did not meet with Pan Buchmann's 
approval : Buchmann, prudent man that he was, had not 
meddled in the battle, but as soon as he heard that they 
were having a consultation, he hastened to put in his 
word ; he thought the project good, but wanted to alter 
it, to develop it with more precision, to explain it more 
clearly, and, first of all, legally to appoint a commission, 
which should consider the aims of the emigration, the 
means and methods, and likewise various other matters. 
Unfortunately the shortness of the time prevented them 
from adopting Buchmann's advice. The gentry took a 
hasty farewell and at once started on their journey* 

But the Judge retained Thaddeus in the room and 
said to the Monk : 

44 It is time for me to tell you what I learned with 
certainty only yesterday, that our Thaddeus is sincerely 
in love with Zosia ; let him ask her hand before his 
departure ! I have spoken with Telimena, and she no 
longer opposes the match ; Zosia also agrees to the 
wishes of her guardians* If we cannot to-day make the 
pair happy by marriage, then at least, brother, we may 
betroth them before his departure ; for the heart of a 
young traveller, as you know well, is exposed to various 
temptations* And yet, when a young man glances at his 
ring and calls to mind that he is already a husband, at 
once the fever of temptations in a foreign land subsides* 
Believe me, a wedding ring has great force* 

44 I myself, thirty years ago, had a great passion for 
Panna Marta, whose heart I won ; we were betrothed, 


but God did not bless that union ; he left me alone on 
earth, taking to his glory the fair daughter of my friend 
the Seneschal Hreczecha. There was left to me only 
the memory of her virtues and her charms, and this 
golden wedding ring* Whenever I have looked upon it, 
the hapless girl has always appeared before my eyes ; 
and thus, by the grace of God, I have preserved till now 
my plighted faith, and, without ever having been a 
husband, I am now an old widower, though the 
Seneschal has another daughter, very fair and very like 
my beloved Martal" 

So saying, he gazed tenderly at the ring, and wiped 
the tears from his eyes with the back of his hand* 

44 Brother, what think you < " he concluded, " Shall 
we betroth them He loves her, and I have the consent 
of the aunt and of the girl/' 

But Thaddeus, stepping quickly up to him, said 
eagerly : 

44 How can I thank you enough, my good uncle, for the 
constant care that you take for my happiness ! Ah, my 
good uncle, I should be the happiest of men if Zosia were 
betrothed to me to-day, if I knew that she were to be my 
wife ! However, I tell you frankly, this betrothal cannot 
take place to-day ; there are various reasons. Question 
me no further ; if Zosia will consent to wait, she may 
perhaps soon find in me a better man and a man more 
worthy of her ; perhaps by my constancy I shall gain 
her affection, perhaps I shall adorn my name with some 
trifling glory, perhaps I shall soon return to the home of 
my fathers. Then, uncle, I shall remind you of your 
promise, then on my knees I shall greet my dear Zosia, 
and, if she is free, I shall beg her hand ; but now I am 
abandoning Lithuania, perhaps for long, and perhaps in 
the meantime another man may win Zosia's favour* I 



do not wish to bind her will, and to beg for an affection 
that I have not deserved would be a base act/' 

While the young man, much moved, was uttering these 
words, two tears, like two great round pearls, shone in 
his great blue eyes and rolled down quicldy over his rosy 

But the curious Zosia from the depths of the alcove 
had been following this mysterious conversation through 
a crack; she had heard Thaddeus tell frankly and 
boldly of his love, and with fluttering heart she had seen 
those two great tears in his eyes. Though she could not 
find the key to his mystery, why he had fallen in love 
with her, why he was abandoning her, and where he 
was departing, nevertheless this departure made her sad. 
For the first time in her life she heard from the lips of 
a youth the great and marvellous news that she was 
beloved. So she ran to the little altar of the house and 
took from it a picture, and a small reliquary ; the picture 
was of Saint Genevieve, and in the reliquary was a bit 
of the robe of Saint Joseph the Bridegroom, the patron 
of youths and maidens who are betrothed. With these 
sacred objects she entered the room : 

" Are you going away so soon ^ I want to give you 
a little present for the journey and a bit of warning too : 
always carry with you these relics and this picture, and 
remember Zosia, May the Lord God guide you in 
health and happiness and may he soon guide you back 
prosperously to us J " 

She ceased, and lowered her head ; hardly had she 
closed her blue eyes, when floods of tears escaped from 
under her lashes, and Zosia stood there silent, with 
closed eyelids, shedding tears like diamonds, 

Thaddeus, taking his gifts, kissed her hand, and said : 
44 Panna Sophia, now I must bid you good-bye ! Fare- 


well, do not forget me, and deign sometimes to repeat 
a prayer for me ! Sophia ! " He could say no more* 

But the Count, who had entered unexpectedly with 
Telimena and had observed the tender farewell of the 
young pair, was much moved, and said with a glance at 
Telimena : 

44 How much beauty is there even in this simple scene, 
when the soul of the shepherdess and the soul of the 
warrior, like a boat and a ship during a storm at sea, 
must at last be parted ! In very truth nothing so kindles 
the feelings in the heart as when heart separates from 
heart* Time is like a blast of wind ; it extinguishes only 
the little candle ; a great flame it fans to an even 
mightier conflagration* And my heart also is capable of 
loving even more mightily at a distance* Pan Soplica, 
I regarded you as my rival ; that mistake was one of the 
causes of our lamentable quarrel, which forced me to 
draw the sword against your household, I perceive my 
mistake, for you sighed to the little shepherdess, while 
I had given my heart to this fair nymph* Let our differ- 
ences be drowned in the blood of our country's enemies ; 
we will no longer fight each other with the murderous 
steel I Let our amorous strife be settled otherwise ; let 
us contend which shall surpass the other in the feeling 
of love ! Let us both leave behind the dear objects of 
our hearts, let us both hasten against swords and spears ; 
let us contend with each other in constancy, sorrow, and 
suffering, and pursue our country's enemies with our 
manly arms ! " 

He spoke and glanced at Telimena, but she made no 
reply, being overcome with amazement* 

44 My dear Count/' interrupted the Judge, " why do 
you insist on departing*' Believe me, you had best 
remain in security on your estate* The poor gentry may 


be skinned and scourged by the government, but you, 
Count, are sure of being left whole. You know what 
sort of government you have to deal with ; you are 
fairly wealthy, and may ransom yourself from prison 
at the cost of only half your income for one year/' 

44 That is not in concord with my character/' said the 
Count, " Since I cannot be a lover, I will be a hero. 
Amid the cares of love I will call on glory as my corn- 
fortress ; since I am a beggar of heart, I will be mighty 
of hand/' 

44 Who hinders you from loving and being happy ? " 
inquired Telimena, 

44 The power of my destiny," said the Count, 
44 mysterious forebodings that with a secret impulse 
urge me to foreign lands and to unwonted deeds, I 
confess that to-day I wished in honour of Telimena to 
light the flame on the altars of Hymen, but this youth has 
given me too fair an example by tearing off his marriage 
wreath of his own free will and rushing to test his 
heart amid the hindrances of changeful fortune and 
amid the bloody chances of war. To-day for me, too, 
a new epoch is opened 1 Birbante-Rocca has resounded 
with the renown of my arms ; may this renown spread 
far and wide in Poland also ! " 

He concluded, and proudly smote his sword hilt, 

44 It is hard to blame such a desire/' said Robak, 
44 Depart, but take money with you ; you may equip a 
company of soldiers, like Wlodzimierz Potocki, who 
amazed the French by contributing a million to the 
treasury, or like Prince Dominik Radziwill, who 
abandoned his lands and goods and furnished two fresh 
regiments of cavalry. Go, go, but take money ; across 
the Niemen we have hands enough, but money is scarce 
in the Grand Duchy ; go, we bid you farewell ! " 


" Alas ! " said Telimena with a mournful glance, " I 
see that nothing will restrain you I My knight, when 
you enter the lists of battle, turn a feeling gaze on the 
colours of your beloved/' (Here she tore a ribbon from 
her dress, made a cockade, and pinned it on the Count's 
bosom*) " May these colours guide you against fiery 
cannon, against shining spears and sulphurous rains ; 
and when you make yourself famous by warlike deeds, 
and when you shade with immortal laurels your blood- 
stained helmet and your casque, bold in victory, even 
then look once more on this cockade ! Remember whose 
hand pinned upon you these colours ! " 

Here she offered him her hand* The Count knelt and 
kissed it ; Telimena raised her handkerchief to one eye, 
but with the other eye she looked down on the Count, 
who was bidding her farewell with deep emotion* She 
sighed, but shrugged her shoulders* 

But the Judge said : " Hurry up, my dear Count, 
for it is already late ! " And the Monk Robak called out 
with a threatening mien : " Enough of this ; hurry 
up ! " Thus the orders of the Judge and the Monk 
separated the tender pair and drove them from the room* 

Meanwhile Thaddeus had embraced his uncle with 
tears and was kissing Robak's hand* Robak, pressing 
the lad's brow to his breast and laying his palms cross- 
wise on his head, gazed aloft and said : " My son, may 
God be with you I " Then he began to weep. But 
Thaddeus was already beyond the threshold* 

" What, brother < " asked the Judge, " will you tell 
him nothing ? not even now t Shall the poor lad still 
remain in ignorance, now that he is going to leave us ! " 

" No, nothing ! " said the Monk, after a long interval 
of weeping, his face covered by his hands* " Why should 
the poor fellow know that he has a father who has hidden 


himself from the world as a scoundrel and a murderer t 
God sees how I longed to tell him, but of that consola- 
tion I will make an offering to God, to expiate my 
former sins/' 

44 Then/' said the Judge, " it is now time for you to 
think of yourself* Pray reflect that a man of your age, 
in your weak condition, would be unable to emigrate 
along with the others. You have said that you know a 
little house where you must hide ; tell me where it is. 
We must hasten, the waggon is waiting, ready harnessed ; 
would it not be better to go to the woods, to the forester's 

" Early to-morrow morning will be time enough," 
said Robak, nodding his head. " Now, my brother, 
send for the priest to come here as quickly as may be 
with the viaticum ; send off every one but the Warden, 
and shut the door." 

The Judge carried out Robak's instructions and sat 
down on the bed beside him ; but Gerwazy remained 
standing, resting his elbow on the pommel of his sword, 
and leaning his bent brow on his hands. 

Robak, before beginning to speak, riveted his gaze 
on the face of the Warden and remained mysteriously 
silent. But as a surgeon first lays a gentle hand on the 
body of a sick man before he makes a cut with the 
knife, so Robak softened the expression of his sharp 
eyes, which he allowed to hover for a long time over the 
eyes of Gerwazy ; finally, as if he wished to strike a 
blind blow, he covered his eyes with his hand and said 
with a powerful voice : 

" 1 am Jacek Soplica." 

At these words the Warden turned pale, bowed down, 
and, with half his body bent forward, remained fixed 
in this position, hung upon one foot, like a stone flying 


from on high but checked in its course* He raised his 
eyelids and opened wide his mouth with its threaten- 
ing white teeth ; his mustaches bristled ; his sword 
dropped from his hands, but he caught it near the floor 
with his knees and held the pommel with his right hand, 
gripping it convulsively: the long black blade of the 
sword stretched out behind him and shook back and 
forth. And the Warden was like a wounded lynx, about 
to spring from a tree into the very face of a hunter : it 
puffs itself into a ball, growls, flashes fire from its bloody 
eyeballs, twitches 'its whiskers and lashes its tail, 

44 Pan Rembajlo," said the Monk, " I am no longer 
alarmed by the wrath of men, for already I am under 
the hand of God, I adjure thee in the name of Him who 
saved the world, and on the cross blessed His murderers 
and accepted the prayer of the robber, that you relent, 
and hear in patience what I have to say, I have myself 
declared my name ; to ease my conscience I must gain 
or at least beg forgiveness. Hear my confession ; then 
you will do with me as you wish/' 

Here he joined his two hands as though in prayer ; 
the Warden drew back amazed, smote his hand on his 
brow and shrugged his shoulders. 

And the Monk began to tell of his former intimacy 
with the Horeszko and of the love between him and the 
Pantler's daughter, and of the enmity between the two 
men that thence arose. But he spoke confusedly ; often 
he mixed accusations and complaints in his confession, 
often he interrupted his speech as though he had ended, 
and then began anew. 

The Warden, who was thoroughly familiar with the 
story of the Horeszkos, straightened out in his mind the 
whole tale, though it was sadly tangled, and could fill 
up the gaps in it ; but the Judge entirely failed to under- 


stand many points* Both listened attentively, bending 
their heads forward ; but Jacek spoke more and more 
slowly, and often interrupted himself, 

" You already know, my dear Gerwazy, how often 
the Pantler used to invite me to banquets ; he would 
propose my health, and many a time he cried, raising 
his beaker aloft, that he had no better friend than 
Jacek Soplica, How he would embrace me ! All who 
saw it thought that he shared his very soul with me. 
He a friend t He knew what then was passing within 
my soul ! 

* + 

" Meanwhile the neighbourhood was already whisper- 
ing ; gossips would say to me : ' Ah, Pan Soplica, 
your suit is vain ; the threshold of a dignitary is too 
high for the feet of Jacek the Cup-Bearer's son/ I 
laughed, pretending that I mocked at magnates and 
their daughters, and that I cared nothing for aristocrats ; 
that if I often visited them, I did it out of mere friend- 
ship, and that I would never marry outside my own 
station in life. And yet these jests pricked my soul to the 
quick : I was young and daring, and the world was 
open to me in a land where, as you know, one born a 
simple gentleman may be chosen king just as freely as the 
most powerful lord. Once Tenczynski asked in marriage 
a daughter of a royal house, and the King gave her to 
him without shame, 173 Are not the Soplicas of equal 
merit with the Tenczynskis, through their blood, 
through their ancient crest, and through their faithful 
service to the Commonwealth ! 


" How easily a man may ruin the happiness of others 
in a single instant ; and in a long lifetime he cannot 


restore it ! One word from the Pantler, and how happy 
we should have been ! Who knows t Perhaps we should 
be living still ; perhaps he too, with his beloved child 
with his fair Eva and with her grateful husband, 
would have grown old in peace ! perhaps he would have 
rocked to sleep his grandchildren ! But now t He has 
destroyed us both and he himself and that murder 
and all the consequences of that crime, all my sufferings 
and transgressions ! I have no right to accuse him, I am 
his slayer ; I have no right to accuse him, I forgive him 
from my heart bu*t he too 

" If he had but once openly refused me for he knew 
our feelings if he had not received my visits, then who 
knows f Perhaps I should have gone away, have become 
enraged, have cursed him, and finally have left him in 
peace. But he, the proud and cunning lord, formed a 
new plan ; he pretended that it had never even entered 
his head that I could strive for such a union. But he 
needed me, I had influence among the gentry and every 
one in the district liked me. So he feigned not to notice 
my love ; he welcomed me as before and even insisted 
that I should come more often ; but whenever we were 
alone together, seeing my eyes darkened with tears and 
my heart over-full and ready to burst forth, the sly old 
man would suddenly throw in some indifferent word 
about lawsuits, district diets, or hunting 

" Ah, often over the winecups, when he was in a 
melting mood, when he clasped me so closely and 
assured me of his friendship, since he needed my sabre 
or my vote at the diet, and when in return I was forced 
to clasp him in friendly wise, then anger would so boil 
up within me that I would turn the spittle within my 


lips and clasp my sword hilt with my hand, longing to 
spit upon this friendship and to draw the sword at once. 
But Eva, noticing my glance and my bearing, would 
guess, I know not how, what was passing within me, 
and would gaze at me imploringly, and her face would 
turn pale ; and she was so fair and meek a dove, and 
she had so gentle and serene a glance ! so angel-like 
that I know not how but I lacked the courage to 
anger or alarm her and I held my peace. And I, a 
roistering champion famous through all Lithuania, 
before whom the greatest lords had been wont to 
tremble, who had not lived a day without a battle, who 
would not have allowed the Pantler, no, not the King 
himself, to do me wrong ; I, who was driven to fury 
by the least disagreement I, then, though angry and 
drunken, held my peace like a lamb ! as though I had 
suddenly beheld the consecrated Host ! 174 

44 How many times did I wish to open my heart and 
even to humble myself to implore him ; but when I 
looked into his eyes and met his gaze cold as ice, I felt 
shame for my emotion ; I hastened once more to 
discourse as coldly as I might of suits at law and of the 
district diets, and even to jest. All this, to be sure, was 
from pride, in order not to debase the name of the 
Soplicas, in order not to lower myself before a magnate 
by a vain request and receive a refusal for what gossip 
there would have been among the gentry, if they had 
known that I, Jacek 

44 The Horeszkos refuse a wench to a Soplica 1 They 
serve me, Jacek, with black soup ! 

44 Finally, not knowing myself what way to turn, I 
bethought me of gathering together a little company 


of gentry, and of leaving forever this district and my 
Fatherland ; of going off somewhere or other, to Moscow 
or to the land of the Tatars, and beginning a war, I 
rode over to bid the Pantler farewell, in the hope that 
when he saw his faithful partisan, his former friend, a 
man almost of his own household, with whom he had 
caroused and made war for so many long years, now 
bidding him farewell and riding off to the ends of the 
earth that the old man might be moved and show me 
at least a trace of a human soul, as a snail shows its horns ! 
44 Ah ! if one has at the bottom of his heart the 
faintest spark of feeling for a friend, that spark will 
break forth when he bids him farewell, like the last 
flame of life before a man expires ! The coldest eye, 
when for the last time it touches the brow of a friend, 
will often shed a tear ! 

4 The poor girl, hearing that I was about to leave the 
country, turned pale, and fell in a swoon, almost dead ; 
she could not speak, but from her eyes there streamed 
a flood of tears I learned how dear I was to her, 

14 I remember that for the first time in my life I shed 
tears, for joy and for despair ; I forgot myself, I went 
mad ; I was ready once more to fall at her father's feet, 
to cling like a serpent about his knees, to cry out, * Dear 
father, take me for your son or slay me I ' Then the 
Pantler, sullen, cold as a pillar of salt, polite and indiffer- 
ent, began a discourse of what t of what i Of his 
daughter's wedding ! At that moment i O Gerwazy, 
dear friend, consider ; you have a human heart I 

4 The Pantler said : 4 Pan Soplica, a wooer has just 
come to me on behalf of the Castellan's 175 son ; you 
are my friend, what do you say to that 1 You know, sir, 


that I have a daughter, fair and rich and the Castellan 
of Witepsk ! That is a low, parvenu seat in the Senate ; 
what do you advise me, brother 4 * I have entirely 
forgotten what I said in reply to that, probably nothing 
at all I mounted my horse and fled ! " 

" Jacek ! " cried the Warden, " you are clever at 
finding excuses ! Well 4 They do not lessen your guilt ! 
For it has happened many a time ere now that a man 
has fallen in love with the daughter of a lord or king, 
and has tried to capture her by force ; has planned to 
steal her away or to avenge himself openly but so 
stealthily to kill him ! a Polish lord, in Poland, and in 
league with the Muscovites ! " 

" I was not in league with them," answered Jacek in a 
voice full of sorrow* " Seize her by force i I might 
have ; from behind gratings and locks I would have 
snatched her ; I would have shattered this castle of his 
into dust ! I had behind me Dobrzyn and four other 
hamlets. Ah, would that she had been such as our 
plain gentlewomen, strong and vigorous I Would that 
she had not dreaded flight and the pursuit and could 
have borne the sound of clashing arms ! But the poor 
child ! Her parents had shielded her so carefully that 
she was frail and timid ! She was but a little spring 
caterpillar the larva of a butterfly ! And to snatch her 
thus, to touch her with an armed hand, would have been 
to kill her* I could not ! No ! 

" To avenge myself openly, and tumble the castle 
into ruins by an assault, I was ashamed, for they would 
have said that I was avenging myself for my rejection ! 
Warden, your honest heart cannot feel what hell there 
is in wounded pride* 

" The demon of pride began to suggest to me better 


plans : to take a bloody revenge, but to hide the reason 
for my vengeance ; to frequent the castle no more and 
to root out my love from my heart ; to dismiss Eva from 
my memory and to marry another ; and then later to 
find some pretext for a quarrel, and to take vengeance* 

44 At first I thought that I had succeeded in over- 
coming my heart, and I was glad of that fancied change, 
and I married the first poor girl that I met ! I did evil, 
and how cruelly was I punished for it ! I loved her not, 
Thaddeus's poor mother, my most devoted wife and 
the most upright soul but I was strangling in my heart 
my former love and my anger* I was like a madman ; 
in vain I forced myself to work at farming or at business ; 
all was of no avail. Possessed by the demon of ven- 
geance, morose and passionate, I could find no comfort 
in anything in the world and thus I passed from one 
sin to another ; I began to drink. 

44 And so in no long time my wife died of grief, leaving 
me that child ; and despair consumed me ! 

44 How ardently I must have loved that poor girl ! 
for so many years ! Where have I not been ! And yet I 
have never been able to forget her, and still does her 
beloved form stand before mine eyes as if painted ! I 
drank, but I have not been able to drink down her 
memory for one instant ; nor to free myself from it, 
though I have traversed so many lands ! Now I am in 
the dress of God's servant, on my bed, and bleeding 
I have spoken of her so long at this moment to speak of 
such things ! God will forgive me ! You must learn 
now in what sorrow and despair I committed 

4 That was but a short time after her betrothal. 
Everywhere the talk was of nothing but her betrothal ; 


they said that when Eva took the ring from the hand of 
the Wojewoda she swooned, that she had been seized 
with a fever, that she had symptoms of consumption, 
that she sobbed continually ; they conjectured that she 
was secretly in love with some one else. But the Pantler, 
calm and gay as ever, gave balls in his castle and assembled 
his friends ; me he no longer invited in what way 
could I be useful to him t My scandalous life at home, 
my misery, my disgraceful habits had brought upon me 
the contempt and mockery of the world ! Me, who once, 
I may say, had made all the district tremble ! Me, whom 
Radziwill had called ' my dear ' ! Me, who, when I rode 
forth from my hamlet, had led with me a train more 
numerous than a prince's ! And when I drew my sabre, 
then many thousand sabres had glittered round about, 
striking terror to the lords' castles, But now the very 
children of the peasant boors laughed at me ! So 
paltry had I quickly made myself in the eyes of men ! 
Jacek Soplica ! He who knows the feeling of pride " 

Here the Bernardine grew weak and fell back on the 
bed, and the Warden said, deeply moved : 

" Great are the judgments of God ! It is the truth ! 
the truth ! So is it you 4 and are you Jacek t the 
Soplica t in a monk's cowl t Have you been living a 
beggar's life ! You, whom I remember when you were 
strong and rosy, a handsome gentleman, when lords 
flattered you, when women went mad over you ! The 
mustachioed champion ! That was not so long ago ! it 
is grief that has aged you thus ! How could I fail to 
recognise you from that shot, when you hit the bear with 
so sure an aim t For our Lithuania had no better marks- 
man than you, and next to Maciek you were also the 
foremost swordsman 1 It is the truth ! Once the 
gentlewomen sang of you : 


When Jacck twirls his whisker, men tremble far and near ; 
'Gainst whom he knots his whisker, that man feels mortal fear 
Though he be Prince Radziwill, to fight he will not dare. 

You tied a knot against my lord ! Unhappy man ! 
And is it you t Fallen to such a state ! The mustachioed 
Jacek a monkish alms-gatherer ! Great are the judg- 
ments of God ! And now I ha ! you cannot escape the 
penalty ; I have sworn, he who has shed a drop of the 
Horeszkos' blood " 

Meanwhile the Monk had raised himself to a sitting 
posture on the bed; and he thus concluded : 

" I rode around the castle ; who can tell the names 
of all the devils that filled my head and heart ! The 
Pantler $ Is he slaying his own child as he has already 
slain and ruined me t I rode up to the gate ; a demon 
enticed me there. Look how he revels ! Every day a 
drinking bout in the castle ! How many candles there 
are in the windows, what music peals through the halls ! 
And shall not this castle crash down upon his bald head t 

* Think of vengeance, and a demon will at once 
furnish you a weapon. Hardly had I thought of it, when 
the demon sent the Muscovites. I stood gazing ; you 
know how they stormed your castle. 

" For it is false that I was in any league with the 

. . 

" I gazed ; various thoughts passed through my 
head : at first with a stupid laugh I gazed as a child 
upon a burning house ; then I felt a murderous joy, 
expecting that speedily it would begin to blaze and 
totter ; at times I was prompted to leap in and save 
her even the Pantler 


44 Your defence, as you know, was vigorous and 
prompt* I was amazed ; the Muscovites kept falling 
close by me ; the beasts aimed poorly, At the sight of 
their overthrow hatred again overcame me. That 
Pander a victor ! And shall he prosper thus in his every 
purpose t And shall he triumph even over this fearful 
assault t I was riding away, smitten with shame, Day 
was just dawning ; suddenly I beheld him and recog- 
nised him ; he stepped out on the balcony and his 
diamond buckle glittered in the sun ; proudly he 
twirled his mustache and proudly gazed around ; and 
it seemed to me that he mocked at me above all others, 
that he had recognised me and that thus he pointed 
his hand at me, scoffing and threatening, I seized a 
carbine from a Muscovite ; I barely raised it to my 
shoulder, scarcely aimed it went off 1 You know the 
rest 1 

44 Cursed firearms ! He who slays with the sword 
must take his stand and press on ; he parries and 
flourishes ; he may disarm his enemy and check his 
sword halfway. But with these firearms it is enough to 
hold the gun ; an instant, a single spark 

44 Did I flee when you aimed at me from above t I 
levelled my eyes at the two barrels of your gun. What 
despair ! A strange grief pinned me to the earth ! Why, 
Gerwazy, ah why did you miss at that time t You would 
have done me a kindness ! evidently as a penance for 
my sin I must needs " 

Here his breath failed him once more. 

44 God knows/' said the Warden, 4i I sincerely wished 
to hit you ! How much blood did you shed by your one 
shot ! How many disasters have fallen upon us and upon 


your family, and all of them through your guilt alone, 
Pan Jacek ! And yet to-day, when the yagers aimed at 
the Count (the last of the Horeszkos, though in the 
female line), you preserved him ; and when the Musco- 
vites shot at me you threw me on the ground, so that you 
have been the saviour of us both. If it is true that you 
are a monk, in holy orders, then your habit shields you 
from my penknife. Farewell, I will set foot no more 
upon your threshold ; our account is clear let us leave 
the rest to the Lord/' 

Jacek stretched "out his hand but Gerwazy started 

44 Without dishonour to my noble blood," he said, 
" I cannot touch a hand defiled by such a murder, 
committed for private vengeance, and not pro publico 

But Jacek, sinking from the pillows into the bed, 
turned to the Judge and grew more and more pale ; 
he eagerly asked for the parish priest, and cried to the 
Warden : 

" I implore you to remain ; in a moment more I shall 
finish ; hardly have I strength to conclude Warden 
I shall die this night/' 

" What, brother 1 " cried the Judge, 4t I have seen 
your wound ; it is trifling : why do you say this f Send 
for the priest ! Perhaps it has been ill tended : I will 
send for the doctor ; he is at the apothecary's/' 

" It is too late, brother," interrupted the Monk. 
" In the same place I have an earlier gunshot wound ; 
I received it at Jena. It was ill healed, and now it has 
been irritated there is gangrene there already. I am 
familiar with wounds ; see how black the blood is, like 
soot ; a doctor could do nothing. But this is a trifle ; 
we die but once ; to-morrow or to-day we must yield 



up our souls. Warden, thou wilt forgive me ; I must 

' There is merit in refusing to betray your country, 
though your own people proclaim you a traitor ! 
Especially for a man who had such pride as mine ! 

* The name of traitor clove to me like a pestilence. 
The neighbours turned their faces from me, my former 
friends fled from me, the timid greeted me from afar 
and turned aside ; even a mere peasant boor or a Jew, 
though he bowed, would, as he passed by, smite me 
with a sneering laugh. The word ' traitor ' rang in my 
ears and echoed through my house and over my fields ; 
that word from morn till dark hovered before me like a 
spot before a sick man's eye. And yet I was not a traitor 
to my country. 

" The Muscovites showed by acts of violence that 
they regarded me as one of their partisans : they gave 
the Soplicas a considerable part of the dead man's 
estates ; later the Targowica confederates wished to 
bestow an office upon me. 176 If I had then consented 
to turn Muscovite ! Satan counselled it I was already 
influential and rich ; but if I had become a Muscovite 
The foremost magnates would have sought my 
favour ; even my brother gentlemen even the mob, 
which is so ready to disparage those of its own number, 
is prone to forgive those happier men who serve the 
Muscovites ! I knew this, and yet I could not. 

" I fled from my country ! Where have I not been ! 
what have I not suffered ! 


" At last God deigned to reveal to me the one true 


remedy : I must reform myself and repair as much as 

possible what 

44 The Pander's daughter and her husband the Woje- 
woda had been transported to some place in Siberia; 
there she died young, leaving here behind her a daughter, 
little Zosia, I had her brought up, 

44 Perchance I slew him more through stupid arro- 
gance than through disappointed love ; so I humbly 
became a monk, I, once proud of my birth, I who was 
once a warlike hero, I bowed my head, I became a 
gatherer of alms, and took the name of Robak, the 
Worm, since like a worm in the dust 

* The evil example that I had set my countrymen, 
that invitation to treason, I must redeem by setting a 
good example, by blood and by self-sacrifice* 

14 I have fought for my country : where t how t I 
shall never tell ; not for earthly glory have I run so 
often upon shot and steel, I like better to remember, 
instead of my famous, warlike exploits, my quiet, useful 
acts, and my sufferings, which no one 

44 Often have I succeeded in penetrating into this 
land, bearing orders from the generals, or collecting 
information, or concluding agreements the men of 
Galicia know this monkish cowl and in Great Poland 
they know it too ! For a year I toiled in a Prussian 
fortress, chained to a wheelbarrow ; thrice the Musco- 
vites have cut up my back with stripes, and once they 
had me on the road to Siberia; later the Austrians 
buried me in the dungeons of Spielberg, at hard labour, 
in career durum but by a miracle the Lord God 
delivered me and granted that I should die among my 
own people, with the sacraments. 


44 Perchance even now, who knows t Perchance I 
have sinned anew ! Perchance I have hastened too 
much the insurrection, exceeding the commands of my 
generals* The thought that the house of the Soplicas 
should be the first to take up arms, and that my kindred 
should raise the first banner of the Warhorse in 
Lithuania ! That thought . . . seems pure. 

44 You have longed for vengeance t You have it now, 
for you have been the instrument of God's punishment ! 
With your sword God cut short my plans. You have 
tangled the thread of the plot that had been spun for so 
many years ! The great aim that absorbed my whole 
life, my last worldly feeling upon earth, which I fondled 
and cherished like my dearest child that you have 
slain before the father's eyes, and I have forgiven you ! 
You ! " 

44 Even so may God forgive you too ! " interrupted the 
Warden. 44 Father Jacek, if you are now about to take 
the sacrament, remember that I am no Lutheran or 
schismatic ! I know that whoever saddens the last 
moments of a dying man, commits sin. I will tell you 
something that will surely comfort you. When my late 
master had fallen wounded, and I was kneeling by him, 
bending over his breast ; when, wetting my sword in 
his wound, I vowed vengeance, my lord shook his head 
and stretched out his hand towards the door, towards 
the place where you were standing, and drew a cross in 
the air ; he could not speak, but he made a sign that he 
forgave his murderer. I understood well, but I was so 
furious with rage that I have never said even a word of 
that cross." 

Here the sufferings of the sick man made further 
speech impossible and a long hour of silence followed. 
They were awaiting the priest. The thunder of hoofs 


was heard, and the Tavern-Keeper, out of breath, 
knocked at the chamber door ; he brought an important 
letter, which he showed to Jacek. Jacek gave it to his 
brother and bade him read it aloud. The letter was 
from Fiszer, 177 who was then Chief of Staff of the Polish 
army under Prince Joseph. It brought the news that in 
the Privy Council of the Emperor war had been declared, 
and that the Emperor was already proclaiming it over 
the whole world ; that a General Diet had been con- 
voked in Warsaw, and that the assembled representa- 
tives of Masovia would solemnly decree the union of 
Lithuania with the Grand Duchy. 

Jacek, as he listened, repeated prayers in a low voice, 
and, clasping to his breast the consecrated candle, 
raised to Heaven his eyes, now kindled with hope, and 
shed a flood of last joyous tears. " Now, O Lord," he 
said, " let thy servant depart in peace ! " All kneeled ; 
and then a bell rang at the door, a token that the priest 
had arrived with the body of our Lord. 

Night was just departing, and across the milky sky 
were streaming the first rosy beams of the sun : they 
entered through the window panes like diamond arrows, 
and fell upon the bed ; they surrounded the head of 
the sick man, wreathing with gold his face and his 
temples, so that he shone like a saint in a fiery crown. 



Spring omens "' The entrance of the armies Religious services 
Official rehabilitation of the late Jacek Soplica From the talk 
between Gerwazy and Protazy a speedy ending of the lawsuit 
may be inferred A love affair between an uhlan and a girl The 
quarrel over Bobtail and Falcon is at last settled Thereupon the 
guests gather for the banquet The presentation of the betrothed 
couples to the generals. 

MEMORABLE year ! Happy is he who beheld thee in our 
land ! The folk still call thee the year of harvest, but the 
soldiers the year of war ; old men still love to tell tales 
of thee and poets still dream of thee. Thou hadst long 
been heralded by the marvel in the sky and preceded 
by a vague rumour among the folk ; with the coming 
of the spring sun the hearts of the Lithuanians were 
seized with a certain strange foreboding, as if the end 
of the world were approaching by a certain yearning 
and joyous expectation. 

In the spring, when the cattle were driven forth for 
the first time, men noticed that, though famished and 
lean, they did not run to the young corn 179 that already 
made gay the fields, but lay down on the ploughed land, 
and, drooping their heads, either lowed or chewed the 
cud of their winter food. 

The villagers too, as they ploughed for the spring grain, 
did not show their wonted joy in the end of the long 
winter ; they did not sing songs, but worked lazily, as 
though forgetful of the sowing and the harvest. As they 
harrowed, at every step they checked their oxen and their 


THE YEAR 1812 279 

nags, and gased anxiously towards the west, as though 
from this direction some marvel were about to appear. 
And they regarded anxiously the birds, which were 
returning home ; for already the stork had flown back 
to its native pine and had spread its white wings, the 
early standard of spring ; and after it the swallows, 
coming on in noisy regiments, gathered above the 
waters, and from the frozen earth collected mud for their 
tiny houses. At evening in the thickets one could hear 
the calling of the woodcocks as they rose from the earth ; 
and flocks of wild geese honked over the forest and, 
wearied, settled noisily down to feed ; and in the depths 
of the dark heaven the cranes kept up a continuous 
clamour* Hearing this, the night watchmen would ask 
in dread whence came such disorder in the winged 
kingdom, and what storm had driven forth these birds 
so early. 

And now new swarms, like flocks of finches, plover, 
and starlings, swarms of bright plumes and pennons 
shone bright upon the hills and came down into the 
meadows. It was cavalry ! In strange array, and arms 
never seen before, came regiment after regiment ; and 
straight across the country, like melted snows, the iron- 
shod ranks flowed along the roads. From the forests 
emerged black shakos, a row of bayonets glittered, and 
the infantry, countless as ants, swarmed forth. 

All were turned towards the north ; you would have 
said that at that time, coming from the Sunny South 18 
and following the birds, men too were entering our 
land, driven on by the force of some instinct that they 
could not comprehend. 

Steeds, men, cannon, eagles flowed on day and night ; 
here and there fires glowed in the sky; the earth trembled, 
in the distance one could hear the rolling of thunder* 


War ! war ! There was no corner in the Lithuanian 
land to which its roar did not reach ; amid dark forests, 
the peasant, whose grandfathers and kinsmen had died 
without seeing beyond the boundaries of the wood, who 
understood no other cries in the sky than those of the 
winds, and none on earth except the roaring of beasts, 
who had seen no other guests than his fellow-woodsmen, 
now beheld how a strange glare flamed in the sky in the 
forest there was a crash that was a cannon ball that had 
wandered from the battlefield and was seeking a path 
in the wood, tearing up stumps and cutting through 
boughs. The hoary, bearded bison trembled in his 
mossy lair and bristled up his long shaggy mane ; he 
half rose, resting on his forelegs, and, shaking his beard, 
he gazed in amazement at the sparks suddenly glittering 
amid the brushwood : this was a stray bombshell that 
twirled and whirled and hissed, and at last broke with 
a roar like thunder ; the bison for the first time in his 
life was terrified and fled to take refuge in deeper hiding, 

44 A battle ! Where t In what direction < " asked the 
young men, as they seized their arms ; the women 
raised their hands in prayer to Heaven. All, sure of 
victory, cried out with tears in their eyes : " God is 
with Napoleon and Napoleon is with us ! " 

O spring 1 Happy is he who beheld thee then in our 
country ! Memorable spring of war, spring of harvest ! 
O spring, happy is he who beheld how thou didst bloom 
with corn and grass, but glittered with men ; how thou 
wert rich in events and big with hope ! I see thee still, 
fair phantom of my dream ! Born in slavery and chained 
in my swaddling bands, I have had but one such spring 
in my whole life. 

Soplicowo lay close by the highway along which two 
generals were pressing forward from the Niemen. Our 

THE YEAR 1812 281 

own Prince Joseph and Jerome, King of Westphalia, 181 
had already occupied Lithuania from Grodno to Slonim, 
when the King issued orders to give the army three days 
of repose. But the Polish soldiers, despite their hard- 
ships, murmured because the King would not permit 
them to march on ; so eager were they to overtake the 
Muscovites at the earliest possible moment. 

The main staff of the Prince had halted in the town 
near by, but in Soplicowo was a camp of forty thousand 
men, and with them Generals Dombrowski, 182 Kniazie- 
wics, 183 Malachowski, 184 Giedrojc, 185 and Grabowski, 186 
with their staffs. 

As it was late when they arrived, each man chose 
quarters wherever he could, either in the old castle 
or in the mansion; soon orders had been issued and 
guards stationed, and each weary man went to his 
chamber for sleep. As night drew on all became quiet, 
both camp, mansion, and field ; one could see only the 
patrols wandering about like shadows, and here and 
there the flickering of the camp fires ; one could hear 
only the watchwords being passed about from post to 
post in the army. 

All slept, the master of the house, the generals, and 
the soldiers ; the eyes of the Seneschal alone were not 
closed in sweet slumber. For on the morrow the 
Seneschal had to arrange a banquet by which he would 
fain make famous the house of the Soplicas for ever and 
ever ; a banquet worthy of guests so dear to Polish 
hearts, and in keeping with the great solemnity of the 
day, which was both a church holiday and a family 
holiday ; on the morrow the betrothals of three couples 
were to take place. Moreover, General Dombrowski 
had made known that evening that he wished to have a 
Polish dinner. 


Though the hour was late, the Seneschal had gathered 
cooks from the neighbourhood with all possible speed ; 
there were five of them working under his direction. 
As head cook he had girt him with a white apron, donned 
a nightcap, and tucked up his sleeves to the elbows. In 
one hand he held a fly-flapper, and with it he drove 
away insects of all sorts, which were settling greedily 
on the dainties ; with the other hand he put on his 
well-wiped spectacles, took a book from his bosom, 
unwrapped it, and opened it. 

This book was entitled The Perfect Cook. 187 Herein 
were described in detail all the dishes peculiar to the 
Polish table : with its aid the Count of Tenczyn was 
wont to give those banquets in the Italian land at which 
the Holy Father Urban VIII. marvelled ; 188 by its 
aid, later on, Karol My-dear-friend Radziwill, 189 when 
he entertained King Stanislaw at Nieswies, arranged 
that memorable feast the fame of which still lives 
throughout Lithuania in popular tales. 

What the Seneschal read, understood, and pro- 
claimed, that straightway did the skilful cooks carry 
out. The work seethed : fifty knives clattered on the 
tables ; scullions black as demons rushed about, some 
carrying wood, others pails of milk and wine ; they 
poured them into kettles, spiders, and stew-pans, and 
the steam burst forth. Two scullions sat by the stove 
and puffed at the bellows ; the Seneschal, the more 
easily to kindle the fire, had given orders to have melted 
butter poured on the wood this bit of extravagance 
is permitted in a well-to-do household. The scullions 
stuffed bundles of dry brushwood into the fire ; others 
of them placed upon spits immense roasts of beef and 
venison, and haunches of wild boars and of stags ; still 
others were plucking whole heaps of birds of all sorts 

THE YEAR 1812 283 

clouds of down flew about, and grouse, heath cocks, 
and hens were stripped bare. But there were very 
few hens : since the attack that bloodthirsty Buzzard 
Dobrzynski had made on the hencoop at the time of 
the foray, when he had annihilated Zosia's establishment, 
without leaving a bit for medicine, 190 Soplicowo, once 
famous for its poultry, had not yet managed to blossom 
out again with new birds. For the rest, there was a great 
abundance of all the sorts of meats that could be gathered 
from the house and from the butchers' shops, from the 
woods and from the neighbours, from near and from 
far : you would have said that the only thing lacking 
was bird's milk. The two things that a generous man 
requires in order to give a feast were united at Soplicowo : 
plenty and art. 

Already the solemn day of the Most Holy Lady of 
Flowers 191 was approaching ; the weather was lovely, the 
hour early ; the clear sky was extended about the earth 
like a calm, hanging, concavo-convex sea. A few stars 
shone from its depths, like pearls from the sea bottom, 
seen through waves ; on one side a little white cloud, 
all alone, drifted along and buried its wings in the azure, 
like the vanishing pinions of a guardian angel, who, 
detained through the night by the prayers of men, has 
been belated, and is hastening to return to his fellow- 
denizens of heaven. 

Already the last pearls of the stars had grown dim and 
been extinguished in the depths of the sky, and the 
centre of the sky's brow was growing pale ; its right 
temple, reposing on a pillow of shadow, was still 
swarthy, but its left grew ever rosier ; but farther off 
the horizon line parted like a broad eyelid, and in the 
centre one could see the white of an eye, one could see 
the iris and the pupil now a ray darted forth and circled 


and shimmered over the rounded heavens, and hung in 
the white cloud like a golden arrow. At this beam, at 
this signal of day, a cluster of fires flew forth, crossing 
one another a thousand times on the sphere of the skies 
and the eye of the sun rose up still somewhat sleepy, 
it blinked and trembled and shook its gleaming lashes ; 
it glittered with seven tints at once : at first sapphire, it 
straightway turned blood red like a ruby, and yellow as 
a topaz > next it sparkled transparent as crystal, then was 
radiant as a diamond ; finally it became the colour of 
pure flame, like a great moon, or like a twinkling star : 
thus over the measureless heaven advanced the solitary 

To-day from the whole neighbourhood the Lithu- 
anian populace had gathered before sunrise around the 
chapel, as if to hear some new marvel proclaimed. This 
gathering was due in part to the piety of the folk and in 
part to curiosity ; for to-day at Soplicowo the generals 
were to attend service, those famous captains of our 
legions, whose names the folk knew and honoured as 
those of patron saints ; all whose wanderings, cam- 
paigns, and battles were the people's gospel throughout 

Now some officers and a throng of soldiers arrived. 
The folk surrounded them and gazed upon them, and 
they could hardly believe their eyes when they beheld 
their fellow-countrymen wearing uniforms, and carrying 
arms free, and speaking the Polish language ! 

The mass began. The little sanctuary could not con- 
tain the entire throng ; the folk kneeled on the grass, 
gazing at the door of the chapel, and bared their heads. 
The white or yellow hair of the Lithuanian folk was 
gilded like a field of ripe grain ; here and there a 
maiden's fair head, decked with fresh flowers or with 

THE YEAR 1812 285 

peacock's feathers, and with ribbons flowing loose from 
her braided hair, blossomed among the men's heads like 
a corn-flower or poppy amid the wheat* The kneeling, 
many-coloured throng covered the plain, and at the 
sound of the bell, as though at a breath of wind, all 
heads bent down like ears of corn on a field* 

To-day the village girls had brought to the altar of 
the Virgin Mother the first tribute of spring fresh 
sheaves of greenery ; everything was decked with 
nosegays and garlands the altar, the image, and even 
the belfry and th galleries. Sometimes a morning 
Zephyr, stirring from the east, would tear down the 
garlands and throw them upon the brows of the 
kneeling worshippers, and would spread fragrance 
abroad as from a priest's censer. 

When the mass and the sermon were over in the 
church, there came forth at the head of the whole 
gathering the Chamberlain, who had recently been 
unanimously chosen Marshal of the Confederacy m by 
the electoral assembly of the district. He wore the 
uniform of the wojewodeship, a tunic embroidered with 
gold, a kontusz of gros-de-Tours with a fringe, and a 
massive brocade belt, on which hung a sabre with a 
hilt of lizard skin. At his neck shone a large diamond 
pin ; his cap was white, and on it was a large tuft of 
costly feathers, the crests of white herons. (Only on 
festival days is worn so rich an ornament, every little 
feather of which is worth a ducat.) Thus adorned, he 
stepped up on a mound before the church ; the villagers 
and soldiers crowded around him : he spoke : 

" Brothers, the priest has proclaimed to you from 
the pulpit the liberty that the Emperor-King has already 
restored to the Kingdom, and is now restoring to the 
Duchy of Lithuania, to all Poland ; you have heard 


the official decrees and the letters convening a General 
Diet. I have only a few words to say to the company on 
a matter that pertains to the Soplica family, the lords of 
this district* 

" All the neighbourhood remembers the crime 
committed here by the deceased Pan Jacek Soplica ; 
but, since you all know of his sins, it is time to proclaim 
his merits, also, before the world. Here are present the 
generals of our armies, from whom I have heard all that 
I tell you. This Jacek did not die at Rome, as was 
reported, but only changed his former way of life, his 
calling, and his name ; and all his offences against 
God and his country he has blotted out by his holy 
life and by great deeds. 

" It was he who at Hohenlinden, 193 when General 
Richepanse, half vanquished, was already preparing 
to retreat, not knowing that Kniaziewicz was on the 
way to his rescue it was he, Jacek, called Robak, who 
amid spears and swords brought to Richepanse from 
Kniaziewicz letters announcing that our men were 
attacking the enemy in the rear. Later, in Spain, when 
our uhlans had taken the fortified ridge of Somosierra, 1 * 4 
he was wounded twice by the side of Kozietulski ! 
Following this, as an emissary, with secret instructions, 
he traversed various quarters of our land, in order to 
watch the currents of popular feeling and to found and 
build up secret societies. Finally, at Soplicowo, in the 
home of his fathers, while he was paving the way for 
an insurrection, he perished in a foray. The news of 
his death arrived in Warsaw just at the moment when 
His Majesty the Emperor deigned to bestow on him as 
a reward for his former heroic deeds the knightly badge 
of the Legion of Honour. 

" Therefore, taking into consideration all these 

THE YEAR 1812 287 

matters, I, as representative of the authority of the 
wojewodeship, proclaim to you with my confederate's 
staff of office that Jacek by faithful service and by the 
favour of the Emperor has removed the blot of infamy 
from his name, and has won back his honour, taking 
once more his place in the ranks of true patriots . So who- 
ever dares to speak a word at any time to the family of 
the deceased Jacek of the offence that he long since 
atoned for, that man will be liable, as a penalty for such 
a taunt, to gravis notx macula,* according to the words 
of the statutes, which thus punish both militem and 
skartabell 1% if he spread calumny against a citizen of 
the Commonwealth and since general equality before 
the law has now been proclaimed, therefore Article 3 
is likewise binding on townsfolk and serfs, 197 This 
decree of the Marshal the Scribe will enter in the acts 
of the General Confederation, and the Apparitor will 
proclaim it. 

" As for the cross of the Legion of Honour, the fact 
that it arrived late does not derogate from its glory ; 
if it could not serve Jacek as an adornment, let it serve 
as a memorial of him : I hang it on his grave. For 
three days it will hang there, then it will be deposited 
in the chapel, as a votum for the Virgin/' 

So saying, he took the badge from its case and hung 
on the modest cross that marked the grave a red ribbon 
knotted into a cockade, and a starry white cross with a 
golden crown ; the rays of the star shone in the sunlight 
like the last gleam of Jacek's earthly glory. Meanwhile 
the kneeling folk repeated the Angelus, praying for the 
eternal repose of the sinner ; the Judge walked about 
among the guests and the throng of villagers and 
invited all to the banquet at Soplicowo. 

But on the bench of turf before the house two old 


men had taken their seats, each holding on his knees a 
tankard full of mead. They gazed into the garden, 
where amid the buds of bright-coloured poppy stood 
an uhlan like a sunflower, wearing a glittering head- 
dress adorned with gilded metal and with a cock's 
feather ; near him a little maid in a garment green as 
the lowly rue raised eyes blue as forget-me-nots towards 
the eyes of the youth. Farther on girls were plucking 
flowers among the beds, purposely turning away their 
heads from the lovers, in order not to embarrass their 
talk together. 

But the old men, as they drank their mead and passed 
from hand to hand a bark snuffbox, continued their 

" Yes, yes, my dear Protazy," said Gerwazy the 
Warden. "' Yes, yes, my dear Gerwazy," said Protazy 
the Apparitor. * Yes, yes indeed/' they repeated in 
unison over and over again, nodding their heads in 
time to the words ; finally the Apparitor spoke : 

* That our lawsuit has a strange conclusion I do not 
deny ; however, there are precedents. I remember 
lawsuits in which worse outrages were committed than 
in ours, and yet marriage articles ended the whole 
trouble : in this way Lopot was reconciled to the 
Borzdobohaty family, the Krepsztuls with the Kupsces, 
Putrament with Pikturna, Mackiewicz with the Ody- 
nieces, and Turno with the Kwileckis. What am I 
saying ! The Poles used to have worse broils with 
Lithuania than the Horeszkos with the Soplica family ; 
but when Queen Jadwiga M8 took the matter under 
advisement, then that difficulty too was settled out of 
court. It is a good thing when the parties have maidens 
or widows to give in marriage ; then a compromise is 
always ready at hand. The longest suits are ordinarily 

THE YEAR 1812 289 

with the Catholic clergy or with close kindred, for then 
the cases cannot be concluded by marriage* Hence 
come the endless quarrels between the Lechites and 
the Russians, who proceed from Lech and Rus, 199 
two born brothers ; hence also there were so many 
prolonged lawsuits between the Lithuanians and the 
Knights of the Cross, until Jagiello finally won* Hence 
finally that famous lawsuit of the Rymszas and the 
Dominicans long pendebat on the calendar, until finally 
Father Dymsza, the syndic of the convent, won the 
case : whence the 'proverb, the Lord God is greater 
than Lord Rymsza, And I may add, mead is better 
than the penknife/' 

So saying, he drank off a tankard to the health of the 

44 True, true ! " replied Gerwazy with emotion. 
44 Strange have been the fortunes of our beloved King- 
dom and of our Lithuania ! They are like a true married 
pair ! God joined them, and the devil divides them ; 
God has his own and the devil has his own 1 Ah, dear 
brother Protazy, that our eyes should see this that these 
brethren from the Kingdom should visit us once more ! 
I served with them years ago, and remember that bold 
confederates came from their country ! If only my 
deceased lord the Pander had lived to see this hour 1 
O Jacek, Jacek ! but why should we lament i Now 
Lithuania will soon be reunited to the Kingdom, and 
therewith all is forgiven and forgotten/' 

" And it is strange/' said Protazy, " that in regard to 
this Zosia, for whose hand our Thaddeus is now suing, 
a year ago there was an omen, as it were a sign from 

44 Panna Sophia she should be called," interrupted 
the Warden, " for she is now grown up, and is no 



longer a little girl ; besides that, she comes of the blood 
of dignitaries ; she is the granddaughter of the Pander." 

" Well, it was an omen prophetic of her fate," 
Protazy concluded ; " I beheld the omen with my own 
eyes. A year ago our servants were sitting here on a 
holiday, drinking mead, and we saw whack 1 there 
fell from the eaves two sparrows fighting, both old 
males. One, which was somewhat the younger, had a 
grey throat, the other a black one ; they continued to 
scuffle about the yard, turning over and over, until they 
were buried in dust. We gazed at them, and meanwhile 
the servants whispered to one another that the black 
one must stand for the Horeszko, and the other for the 
Soplica. So, whenever the grey one was on top, they 
would cry, ' Vivat Soplica ; foh, the Horeszko cowards ! * 
but when it fell, they shouted, ' Get up, Soplica ; don't 
give in to the magnate that's shameful for a gentle- 
man ! ' So we laughed and waited to see which would 
beat ; but suddenly little Zosia, moved with pity for the 
birds, ran up and covered those warriors with her tiny 
hand : they still fought in her hands till the feathers 
flew, such was the fury of those little scamps. The old 
wives, looking at Zosia, quietly passed the word about, 
that it would certainly be that girl's destiny to reconcile 
two families long at variance. So I see that the old 
wives' omen has to-day come true. To be sure, at that 
time they had in mind the Count, and not Thaddeus." 

To this the Warden replied : * There are strange 
things in the world ; who can fathom them all ! I too 
will tell you, sir, something which, though not so marvel- 
lous as that omen, is nevertheless hard to understand. 
You know that in old days I should have been glad to 
drown the Soplica family in a spoonful of water ; and yet 
of this young fellow Thaddeus I was always immensely 

THE YEAR 1812 291 

fond, from his childhood up, I took notice that when- 
ever he got into a fight with the other lads he always 
beat them ; so, every time that he came to the castle, 
I kept stirring him up to difficult feats. He succeeded in 
everything, whether he set out to dislodge the doves 
from the tower, or to pluck the mistletoe from the oak, 
or to tear down a crow's nest from the highest pine : he 
was equal to anything, I thought to myself that boy 
was born under a happy star ; too bad that he is a 
Soplica ! Who would have guessed that in him I was to 
greet the owner of the castle, the husband of Panna 
Sophia, Her Grace my Lady ! " 

Here they broke off their conversation, but, deep in 
thought, they continued to drink ; one could only hear 
now and then these brief words, " Yes, yes, Gerwazy " ; 
44 Yes, Protasy." 

The bench adjoined the kitchen, the windows of 
which were standing open and pouring forth smoke 
as from a conflagration ; at last between the clouds of 
smoke, like a white dove, flashed the shining nightcap 
of the head cook. The Seneschal, putting his head out 
of the kitchen window, above the heads of the old men, 
listened in silence to their talk, and finally handed them 
some biscuits in a saucer, with the remark : 

" Have something to eat with your mead, and I will 
tell you a curious story of a quarrel that seemed likely 
to end in a bloody fight, when Rejtan, hunting in the 
depths of the forests of Naliboki, played a trick on the 
Prince de Nassau. This trick he nearly atoned for with 
his own life ; I made up the gentlemen's quarrel, as I 
will tell you," 

But the Seneschal's story was interrupted by the 
cooks, who inquired whom he would have set the table. 

The Seneschal withdrew, and the old men, having 


finished their mead, turned their thoughtful eyes 
towards the centre of the garden, where that handsome 
uhlan was talking with the young lady. At that moment 
the uhlan, taking her hand in his left (his right hung in 
a sling, so that he was evidently wounded), addressed 
the lady with these words : 

" Sophia, you positively must tell me this ; before 
we exchange rings, I must be sure of it. What does it 
matter that last winter you were prepared to give me 
your promise ^ I did not accept your promise then, 
for what did I care for such a forced promise t I had 
then stayed in Soplicowo but a very short time, and I 
was not so vain as to flatter myself that by my mere 
glance I could awaken love in you, I am no braggart ; 
I wished by my own merits to win your regard, even 
though I might have to wait long for it. Now you are 
so gracious as to repeat your promise how have I ever 
deserved such favour t Perhaps you are taking me, 
Zosia, not so much from attachment, as because your 
uncle and aunt are urging you to do so ; but marriage, 
Zosia, is a very serious matter : take counsel of your 
own heart and do not hearken to any one's authority, 
either to your uncle's threats or to your aunt's entreaties. 
If you feel for me nothing but kindness, we may post- 
pone this betrothal for a time ; I do not wish to bind 
your will : let us wait, Zosia. There is no reason for 
haste, especially since, yesterday evening, I received 
orders to remain here in Lithuania as instructor in the 
local regiment, until I am healed of my wounds. Well, 
my beloved Zosia 1 " 

Raising her head, and looking timidly into his eyes, 
Zosia replied : 

44 I do not now remember perfectly what happened 
so long ago ; I know that everybody told me that I 

THE YEAR 1812 293 

must marry you. I always assent to the will of Heaven 
and the will of my elders/* Then, lowering her eyes, 
she added : " Before your departure, if you remember, 
when Father Robak died on that stormy night, I saw 
that you were dreadfully sorry to leave us. You had tears 
in your eyes : those tears, I tell you truly, fell deep 
into my heart ; since then I have trusted your word, 
that you were fond of me. Whenever I have uttered a 
prayer for your success, I have always had before my 
eyes the picture of you with those great shining tears. 
Later the Chamberlain's wife went to Wilno and took 
me there for the winter ; but I longed for Soplicowo 
and for that little room where you met me for the first 
time one evening by the table, and where you later 
bade me farewell. In some strange way the memory 
of you, like seeds of kale planted in the fall, all 
through the winter sprouted in my heart, so that, as I 
tell you, I continually longed for that little room ; and 
something whispered to me that I should find you there 
again ; and so it has happened. While thinking of this, 
I often had your name on my lips as well this was at 
Wilno in the carnival season ; the girls said that I was 
in love. So now, if I love any one, it must surely be you." 

Thaddeus, happy at such a proof of affection, took 
her arm and pressed it to him, and they left the garden 
for the lady's chamber, for that room that Thaddeus had 
occupied ten years before. 

At this moment the Notary was tarrying there in mar- 
vellous array, and proffering his services to his betrothed 
lady: he bustled about and handed her signet rings, little 
chains, gallipots and bottles and powders and patches ; 
gay at heart, he gazed in triumph on the young damsel. 
The young damsel had finished making her toilet, and 
was sitting before the mirror taking counsel of the 


Graces ; but the maids were still toiling over her, 
some with curling irons in their hands were freshen- 
ing the limp ringlets of her tresses, others, on their 
knees, were working at a flounce. 

While the Notary was thus tarrying with his betrothed, 
a scullion rapped on the window to attract his attention ; 
they had caught sight of a rabbit. The rabbit, stealing 
out of the willows, had whisked over the meadow and 
leapt into the garden amid the growing vegetables ; 
there it was seated, and it was an easy matter to fright 
it from the cabbage patch and to course it, stationing 
the hounds on the narrow path that it must take. The 
Assessor ran up, pulling Falcon by the collar ; the 
Notary hurried after him, calling to Bobtail. The 
Seneschal made them both stand with their dogs near 
the fence, while he himself with his fly-flapper set out 
for the garden, and by trampling, whistling, and clapping 
his hands greatly terrified the poor beast. The hunts- 
men, each holding his hound by the collar, pointed their 
fingers to the spot from which the hare was to appear, 
and made a soft smacking sound with their lips ; the 
hounds pricked up their ears, snuffed the wind with 
their muzzles and trembled impatiently, like two arrows 
set on one string. All at once the Seneschal shouted, 
44 At him," and the hare darted from behind the fence 
into the meadow, the hounds after him ; and speedily, 
without making a single turn, Falcon and Bobtail to- 
gether fell upon the grey rabbit from opposite sides at 
the same instant, like the two wings of a bird, and buried 
their teeth like talons in his back. The rabbit gave one 
cry, like a newborn babe, pitifully ! The huntsmen ran 
up ; it already lay breathless, and the hounds were 
tearing the white fur beneath its belly. 

The huntsmen were patting their dogs, but mean- 

THE YEAR 1812 295 

while the Seneschal, drawing the hunting-knife that 
hung at his girdle, cut off the feet and said : 

44 To-day each dog shall receive an equal fee, for they 
have gained equal glory ; equal was their fleetness and 
equal was their toil ; worthy is the palace of Pac, and 
worthy is Pac of the palace ; 20 worthy are the huntsmen 
of the hounds, and worthy are the hounds of the hunts- 
men. Thus is ended your long and furious quarrel ; I, 
whom you appointed your judge and stakeholder, at 
last give my verdict : you both have triumphed. I 
return your stakes ; let each man keep his own, and do 
you both sign the treaty/' 

At the summons of the old man the huntsmen turned 
beaming faces on each other and joined their long parted 
right hands. Then the Notary spoke : 

44 My stake was a horse with its caparison ; I also 
agreed before the district authorities to deposit my ring 
as a fee for the judge ; a forfeit once pledged cannot 
be withdrawn. Let the Seneschal accept the ring as a 
reminder of this incident, and let him have engraved on 
it either his own name or, if he prefers, the armorial bear- 
ings of the Hreczechas ; the carnelian is smooth, the 
gold eleven carats fine. The uhlans have now comman- 
deered my horse for their troop, but the caparison 
remains in my possession ; every expert praises this 
caparison, that it is strong and comfortable, and pretty 
as a picture. The saddle is narrow, in the Turko- 
Cossack style ; in front it has a pommel, and in the 
pommel are set precious stones ; the seat is covered 
with a damask pad. And when you leap into your place, 
you rest on that soft down as comfortably as in a bed ; 
and when you start to gallop " here the Notary 
Bolesta, who, as is well known, was extremely fond of 
gestures, spread out his legs as though he were leaping 


on a horse, and then, imitating a gallop, he swayed slowly 
to and fro " and when you start to gallop, then light 
flashes from the housing as though gold were dripping 
from your charger, for the side bands are thickly set 
with gold and the broad silver stirrups are gilded ; on 
the straps of the bit and on the bridle glitter buttons 
of mother of pearl, and from the breastplate hangs a 
crescent shaped like Leliwa, 201 that is, like the new 
moon* This whole splendid outfit was captured, as 
rumour reports, in the battle of Podhajce, 202 from a 
certain Turkish noble of very high station* Accept it, 
Assessor, as a proof of my esteem." 

Happy in his gift, the Assessor replied : 

44 My stake was the gift that I once received from 
Prince Sanguszko my elegant dog-collars, covered 
with lizard-skin, with rings of gold, and my leash woven 
of silk, the workmanship of which is as precious as the 
jewel that glitters upon it. That outfit I wanted to leave 
as an inheritance for my children ; I shall surely have 
children, for you know that I am to be married to-day. 
But, my dear Notary, I beg you humbly that you will 
deign to accept that outfit in exchange for your rich 
caparison, and as a reminder of the quarrel that was 
prolonged for so many years and has finally been con- 
cluded in a manner honourable to us both. May 
harmony flourish between us ! " 

So they returned home, to proclaim at table that the 
quarrel between Bobtail and Falcon had been concluded. 

There was a report that the Seneschal had raised that 
rabbit in the house and slyly let it out into the garden, 
in order to make the huntsmen friends by means of too 
easy a prey. The old man played his trick so mysteri- 
ously that he completely fooled all Soplicowo. A 
scullion, some years later, whispered a word of this, 

THE YEAR 1812 297 

wishing to embroil once more the Assessor and the 
Notary ; but in vain did he spread abroad reports 
slanderous to the hounds the Seneschal denied the 
story, and nobody believed the scullion. 

The guests were already assembled in the great hall 
of the castle, and were conversing around the table as 
they awaited the banquet, when the Judge entered in the 
uniform of a wojewoda, escorting Thaddeus and Sophia, 
Thaddeus, raising his left hand to his forehead, saluted 
his superior officers with a military bow, Sophia, 
lowering her eyes and blushing, greeted the guests with 
a curtsy (she had been taught by Telimena how to 
curtsy gracefully). On her head she wore a wreath, as 
a betrothed maiden ; for the rest, her costume was the 
same that she had worn that morning in the chapel, 
when she brought in her spring sheaf for the Virgin 
Mary. She had reaped once more, for the guests, a 
fresh sheaf of greenery, and with one hand she dis- 
tributed flowers and grasses from it ; with the other 
she adjusted on her head her glittering sickle. The 
leaders, kissing her hands, took the posies ; Zosia 
curtsied once more to all in turn, her cheeks glowing. 

Then General Kniaziewicz took her by the shoulders, 
and, imprinting a fatherly kiss on her brow, lifted the 
girl aloft and set her on the table ; all clapped their 
hands and shouted " Bravo ! " being charmed by the 
girl's figure and bearing, and more particularly by 
her Lithuanian village attire ; since for these famous 
captains, who in their roving life had wandered so long 
in foreign lands, there was a marvellous charm in the 
national costume, which reminded them both of the 
years of their youth and of their loves of long ago : so 
almost with tears they gathered around the table and 
gazed eagerly upon her. Some asked Zosia to raise her 


head and show her eyes ; others begged her to be so 
kind as to turn around the bashful girl turned around, 
but covered her eyes with her hands, Thaddeus looked 
on gaily and rubbed his hands. 

Whether some one had counselled Zosia to make her 
appearance in such garments, or whether she knew by 
instinct (for a girl always guesses by instinct what is 
becoming to her), suffice it to say that this morning for 
the first time in her life Zosia had been scolded for 
obstinacy by Telimena, since she had refused to put on 
fashionable attire : at last by her tears she had prevailed 
on them to let her remain in this village costume. 

She wore a long white underskirt and a short gown of 
green camlet with a pink border ; the bodice was also 
of green, laced crosswise with pink ribbons from the 
waist to the neck ; under it her bosom took refuge like 
a bud beneath leaves. On her shoulders shone the full 
white sleeves of the shirt, like the wings of a butterfly 
stretched for flight ; at the wrist they were gathered and 
fastened with a ribbon ; her throat was also encircled 
by the close-fitting shirt, the collar of which was fastened 
with a pink knot. Her earrings were artistically carved 
out of cherry stones ; in their making Buzzard Dobrzyn- 
ski had taken huge pride ; they represented two hearts 
with dart and flame, and had been a present to Zosia 
when Buzzard was paying his court to her. About her 
collar hung two strings of amber beads, and on her 
temples was a wreath of green rosemary ; the ribbons 
that decked her tresses Zosia had thrown back over her 
shoulders. On her brow, as is the custom with reapers, 
she had fastened a curved sickle, freshly polished by 
cutting grasses, bright as the new moon above the brow 
of Diana. 

All admired and clapped their hands. One of the 

THE YEAR 1812 299 

officers took from his pocket a portfolio containing 
bundles of papers ; he undid them, sharpened his 
pencil, moistened it with his lips, gazed at Zosia, and 
began to draw* Hardly had the Judge beheld the papers 
and pencils, when he recognised the artist, though he 
had been greatly changed by his colonel's uniform, his 
rich epaulets, his truly uhlan-like bearing, his blackened 
mustache, and a small Spanish beard. The Judge 
recognised the Count : " How are you, Your Excellency 4 
So you keep a travelling painter's kit even in your 
cartridge box ! " In very truth it was the young Count* 
He was a soldier of no long standing, but since he had 
a large income and had fitted out a whole troop of 
cavalry at his own expense, and had borne himself 
admirably in the very first battle, the Emperor had 
to-day just appointed him a colonel. So the Judge 
greeted the Count and congratulated him on his promo- 
tion, but the Count paid no attention, and continued 
to draw diligently. 

In the meantime a second betrothed pair had entered. 
The Assessor, once in the service of the Tsar, had 
entered that of Napoleon ; he had a company of gen- 
darmes under his command, and, although he had been 
in office hardly twelve hours, he had already donned a 
dark blue uniform with Polish facings, and dragged 
behind him a curved sabre, and clinked his spurs. By 
his side, with dignified steps, walked his beloved, 
dressed with great magnificence, Tekla Hreczecha : 
for the Assessor had long ago abandoned Telimena, 
and, the more deeply to wound that coquette, he had 
turned his heart's devotion to the Seneschal's daughter. 
The bride was not over young, she had perhaps already 
seen half a century go by ; but she was a good house- 
keeper and a dignified and well-to-do person, for, aside 


from her ancestral village, her dowry had been increased 
by a little sum presented to her by the Judge . 

For the third pair they waited vainly, a long time. 
The Judge grew impatient and sent servants ; they 
returned and reported that the third bridegroom, the 
Notary, when looking for the rabbit, had lost his 
wedding ring, and was now looking for it in the meadow ; 
meanwhile the Notary's lady was still at her dressing- 
table, and, though she was herself hurrying and was 
being aided by the serving women, she had been abso- 
lutely unable to finish her toilet: she would scarcely 
be ready by four o'clock* 



The last old-Polish banquet The state centrepiece Explanation of its 
figures Its transformations Dombrowski receives a present 
More of Penknife Kniaziewicz receives a present The first 
official act of Thadd^us on receiving his inheritance Remarks of 
Gerwazy The concert of concerts The polonaise Let us love 
one another ! 

FINALLY with a crash the doors of the hall were thrown 
wide open, and the Seneschal entered, wearing a cap, 
and with his head held high ; he did not greet the com- 
pany nor take his place at the table, for to-day the 
Seneschal emerged in a new character, as Marshal of 
the Court ; he bore a wand in sign of office, and with 
this wand he indicated to each in turn his place and 
showed the guests their seats. First of all, as the highest 
in authority in the wojewodeship, the Chamberlain- 
Marshal took the place of honour, a velvet chair with 
ivory arms ; next him on the right sat General Dom- 
browski, and on the left Kniasiewicz, Pac, 203 and 
Malachowski, Amid this company the Chamberlain's 
wife had her seat ; farther on other ladies, officers, 
magnates, country gentry, and neighbours, men and 
women alternately, all took places in order as the 
Seneschal indicated* 

The Judge, with a bow, withdrew from the banquet ; 
in the yard he was entertaining a throng of peasants, 
whom he had gathered at a table a furlong in length ; 
he himself sat at one end and the parish priest at the 



other. Thaddeus and Sophia did not take seats at the 
table ; being occupied with serving the peasants, they 
ate as they walked* Such was the ancient custom that 
new owners of a farm, at the first feast, should wait on 
the common folk. 

Meanwhile the guests, as in the castle hall they 
awaited the bringing in of the food, gazed with amaze- 
ment at the great centrepiece, the metal and the work- 
manship of which were equally precious. There is a 
tradition that Prince Radziwill the Orphan 204 had this 
set made to order in Venice, and had it decorated in 
Polish style according to his own ideas. The centre- 
piece had later been carried off in the time of the 
Swedish wars, 205 and had found its way in some mys- 
terious manner into this country gentleman's mansion ; 
to-day it had been brought forth from the treasury and 
it now occupied the middle of the table, forming an 
immense circle, like a coach wheel. 

The centrepiece, which was coated from rim to rim 
with froth and sugar white as snow, counterfeited mar- 
vellously well a winter landscape. In the centre a huge 
grove of confections showed dark ; on the sides were 
houses which seemed to form peasant villages and 
hamlets of gentry, and which were coated, not with hoar 
frost, but with sugary froth ; the edges were decorated 
with little porcelain figures in Polish costumes : like 
actors on a stage, they were evidently representing some 
striking event ; their gestures were artistically repro- 
duced, the colours were individual ; they lacked only 
voice for the rest they seemed to be alive. 

" What is it that they represent 1 " asked the curious 
guests ; whereupon the Seneschal, raising his wand, 
spoke as follows (meanwhile brandy was being served, 
in preparation for dinner) : 


" With your permission, honoured gentlemen and 
guests, those persons whom you see there in countless 
numbers represent the progress of a Polish district diet, 
its consultations, voting, triumphs, and disputes ; I 
myself guessed the meaning of this scene, and I will 
explain it to the company, 

" There on the right may be seen a numerous assem- 
bly of gentry : they have evidently been invited to a 
banquet, preceding the diet ; the board is waiting ready 
set, but no one is showing the guests their seats ; they 
are standing in groups, and each group is deep in dis- 
cussion. Notice that in the centre of each group stands 
a man from whose parted lips, wide-open eyes, and 
restless hands you may see that he is an orator and is 
expounding something, that he is explaining it with 
his finger and marking it on his palm. These orators 
are recommending their candidates with various suc- 
cess, as may be seen from the bearing of the brother 

' You may be sure that there in the second group 
the gentry are listening with attention : this good man 
has tucked his hands into his belt and has pricked up 
his ears ; that other is holding his hand to his ear and 
is silently twirling his mustache ; he is evidently 
gathering in the words and storing them up in his 
memory. The orator takes solid comfort in seeing that 
his hearers are converted ; he strokes his pocket, for 
he already has their votes in his pocket. 

" But in the third gathering the situation is quite 
different : here the orator must catch his auditors by 
their belts notice how they are pulling away and 
turning aside their ears ; notice how this auditor bristles 
with wrath ; he has raised his arms and is threatening 
the orator and stopping his mouth ; he has evidently 


heard praise showered on his opponent. That other 
man has bent down his brow like a bull ; you might 
think him about to toss the orator on his horns* This 
party are drawing their sabres, and those others have 
started to flee. 

44 One gentleman stands silent and alone between the 
groups ; he is evidently a non-partisan and is timidly 
hesitating for whom to give his vote ! He does not know, 
and is at odds with himself ; he leaves it to chance 
he has lifted up his hands and extended his thumbs ; 
with his eyes shut he aims nail against nail ; evidently 
he will trust his vote to fortune ; if the thumbs meet, 
he will cast an affirmative ballot, but if they miss he 
will deposit a negative* 

" On the left is another scene, a convent refectory, 
transformed into the assembly hall of the gentry* The 
older men are seated in a row on benches ; the younger 
are standing and looking curiously over their heads 
towards the centre ; in the centre stands the Marshal, 
holding the urn in his hands ; he is counting the balls, 
and the gentry devour them with their eyes ; he has 
just shaken out the last one : the Apparitors raise their 
hands and announce the name of the elected official* 

44 One gentleman has no respect for the general con- 
cord : see, he has thrust in his head from the window 
of the refectory kitchen ; see his wide-open eyes, how 
insolently he stares ; he has opened his mouth as though 
he wanted to eat up the whole roomful : it is easy to 
guess that this gentleman has shouted * Veto I ' See 
how at that sudden challenge to a quarrel the throng 
is crowding to the door ; they are evidently on their 
way to the kitchen ; they have drawn their swords, and 
a bloody fight is sure to break out* 

" But there in the corridor, sirs, pray notice that 


reverend old priest advancing in his chasuble ; that is 
the Prior bringing the Host from the altar, while a boy 
in a surplice rings a bell and asks all to give way* The 
gentry at once sheathe their sabres, cross themselves, 
and kneel ; but the priest turns in the direction whence 
a clink of arms is still heard : soon he will arrive, and 
at once he will calm and reconcile all, 

" Ah, you young men, do not remember this, how 
among our turbulent, self-willed gentry, always under 
arms though they were, no police were ever needed : 
while the true faith flourished, laws were respected ; 
there was liberty with order and glory along with plenty 1 
In other lands, I hear, the government maintains 
soldiers and all sorts of policemen, gendarmes, and 
constables. But if the sword alone guards the public 
security, then I shall never believe that liberty can 
exist in those lands/' 

Suddenly, tapping his snuffbox, the Chamberlain 
said : 

" Seneschal, I pray you, postpone these stories until 
later ; this diet is a curious thing, to be sure, but we 
are hungry ; pray, sir, have them bring in the dinner, 

Bending down his wand to the floor, the Seneschal 
replied : 

44 Your Excellency, pray grant me this indulgence ; 
I will speedily finish with the last scene of the district 
diets. Here is the new Marshal, borne out of the 
refectory on the shoulders of his partisans ; see how 
the brother gentlemen are throwing up their caps and 
standing with open mouths vivats ! But there on the 
other side lingers the outvoted candidate, all alone, with 
his cap pulled down over his gloomy brow ; his wife 
is waiting in front of her house, and has guessed what 
is going on. Poor woman, now she is fainting in the 


arms of her maid ! Poor woman, she was to have 
received the title of Right Honourable, but now she is 
left just Honourable for three more years I " 

Here the Seneschal concluded his description, and 
gave a sign with his wand ; immediately lackeys began 
to enter in pairs, bringing the different dishes : the 
beet soup called royal, and the old-Polish broth, 
artistically prepared, into which the Seneschal in 
marvellous and mysterious wise had thrown several 
pearls and a piece of money ; such broth purifies the 
blood and fortifies the health ; after it came other 
dishes but who could describe them all ! Who would 
even comprehend those dishes of kontuz, arkas, and 
6/emos, 206 no longer known in our times, with their 
ingredients of cod, stuffing, civet, musk, caramel, pine 
nuts, damson plums ! And those fish ! Dry salmon 
from the Danube, sturgeon, Venetian and Turkish 
caviare, pikes and pickerel a cubit long, flounders, and 
capon carp, and noble carp ! Finally a culinary mystery : 
an uncut fish, fried at the head, baked in the middle, and 
with its tail in a ragout with sauce. 

The guests did not ask the names of the dishes, nor 
were they halted by that curious mystery ; they ate 
everything rapidly with a soldier's appetite, filling their 
glasses with the generous Hungarian wine. 

But meanwhile the great centrepiece had changed its 
colour, 207 and, stripped of its snow, had already turned 
green ; for the light froth of sugared ice, slowly warmed 
by the summer heat, had melted and disclosed a founda- 
tion hitherto hidden from the eye : so the landscape 
now represented a new time of year, shining with a green, 
many-coloured spring. Various grains came forth, as if 
yeast were making them grow ; gilded ears of saffron 
wheat were seen in rich profusion, also rye, clad in 


leaves of picturesque silver, and buckwheat, made 
artistically of chocolate, and orchards blooming with 
pears and apples. 

The guests had scant time to enjoy the gifts of summer; 
in vain they begged the Seneschal to prolong them. 
Already the centrepiece, like a planet in its appointed 
revolution, was changing the season of the year ; already 
the grain, painted with gold, had gathered warmth from 
the room, and was slowly melting ; already the grasses 
were growing yellow and the leaves were turning crimson 
and were falling ; you might have said that an autumn 
wind was blowing ; finally those trees, gorgeous an 
instant before, now stood naked, as if they had been 
stripped by the winds and the frost ; they were sticks 
of cinnamon, or twigs of laurel that counterfeited pines, 
being clad in caraway seeds instead of needles. 

The guests, as they drank their wine, began to tear 
off the branches, stumps, and roots, and to chew them 
as a relish. The Seneschal walked about the centrepiece, 
and, full of joy, turned triumphant eyes upon the 

Henryk Dombrowski feigned great amazement, and 
said : 

44 My friend the Seneschal, are these Chinese shadows t 
Or has Pinety 208 given you his demons as servants < 
Do such centrepieces still exist among you, here in 
Lithuania, and do all men feast in this ancient fashion t 
Tell me, for I have passed my life abroad/' 

" No, Your Excellency the General/' said the Sene- 
schal with a bow, " these are no godless arts ! This is 
only a reminder of those famous banquets that used 
to be given in the mansions of our ancient magnates, 
when Poland enjoyed happiness and power ! All that I 
have done I learned by reading in this book. You ask 


me whether this custom has been preserved everywhere 
in Lithuania* Alas, new fashions are already creeping 
in even among us ! Many a young gentleman exclaims 
that he cannot stand the expense ; he eats like a Jew, 
grudging his guests food and drink ; he is stingy with 
the Hungarian wine, and drinks that devilish, adulter- 
ated, fashionable Muscovite champagne ; then in the 
evening he loses as much money at cards as would 
suffice for a banquet for a hundred gentlemen and 
brothers* Even for what I have in my heart I will 
to-day speak out frankly ; let not the Chamberlain take 
it ill of me when I was getting that wonderful centre- 
piece from the treasure room, then even the Chamber- 
lain, even he made fun of me, saying that this was a 
tiresome, antiquated contrivance that it looked like 
a child's plaything and was unfit for such famous men 
as we have with us to-day ! Judge ! even you, Judge, 
said that it would bore the guests ! And yet, so far as 
I may infer from the amazement of the company, I see 
that this is fine art, that it was worthy of being seen I 
I doubt whether a like occasion will ever again return 
for entertaining at Soplicowo such dignitaries. I see, 
General, that you are an expert at banquets ; pray accept 
this book : it will be of use to you some day when you 
are giving a feast for a company of foreign monarchs, 
or perhaps one even for Napoleon himself. But permit 
me, before I tender the book to you, to relate by what 
chance it fell into my hands/' 

Suddenly a murmur arose outside the door, and many 
voices shouted in unison, " Long live Cock-on-the- 
Steeple ! " A throng pushed into the hall, with Maciej 
at their head. The Judge led the guest by the hand to 
the table and gave him a high seat among the leaders, 
saying : 


44 Pan Maciej, unkind neighbour, you come very late, 
when dinner is almost over/' 

44 I eat early/' replied Dobrzynski ; " I did not come 
here for food, but only because I was overpowered by 
curiosity to see close at hand our national army. Of 
this much might be said ; it is neither fish, flesh, nor 
fowl. These gentlemen caught sight of me and brought 
me here by force ; and you, sir, are compelling me to 
seat myself at your table I thank you, neighbour/' 

With these words he turned his plate bottom upwards, 
as a sign that he would not eat, and relapsed into glum 

44 Pan Dobrzynski," said General Dombrowski to 
him, " are you that famous swordsman of the Kosciuszko 
times, that Maciej, called Switch ! Your fame has 
reached me. And pray tell me, is it possible that you 
are still so hale, so vigorous 1 How many years have 
gone by 1 See, I have grown old ; see, Kniaziewicz too 
has grizzled hair ; but you might still enter the lists 
against young men. And your switch doubtless blooms 
as it did long ago ; I have heard that recently you 
birched the Muscovites. But where are your brethren { 
I should beyond measure like to see those penknives 
and razors of yours, the last relics of ancient Lithuania/' 

44 After that victory, General," said the Judge, 
44 almost all the Dobrzynskis took refuge in the Grand 
Duchy, and must have entered one or other of the 

" Why certainly," answered a young squadron com- 
mander, " I have in the second company a mustachioed 
scarecrow, Sergeant-Major Dobrzynski, who calls him- 
self Sprinkler, but whom the Masovians call the Lithu- 
anian bear. If you bid me, General, we will have him 
brought in/' 


44 There are several other natives of Lithuania here/* 
said a lieutenant* " One such soldier is known under 
the name of Razor ; another carries a blunderbuss and 
rides with the sharp-shooters ; there are likewise two 
grenadiers named Dobrzynski in the chasseur regiment/' 

u Well, but I want to know about their chief," said 
the General, " about that Penknife of whom the Senes- 
chal has told me so many marvels, worthy of one of the 
giants of old times/' 

44 Penknife/' said the Seneschal, 44 though he did not 
go into exile, nevertheless feared the result of an investi- 
gation, and hid himself from the Muscovites ; all winter 
the poor fellow roamed about the forests, and he has 
only recently come forth from them* In these times of 
war he might have been good for something, for he is a 
valorous man, only he is unfortunately a trifle bowed by 
age* But here he is." 

Here the Seneschal pointed towards the vestibule, 
where servants and peasants were standing crowded 
together. Above the heads of all a shining bald pate 
showed itself suddenly like the full moon ; thrice it 
emerged and thrice it vanished in the cloud of heads ; 
the Warden was bowing as he strode forward, until 
finally he made his way out of the press, and 
said : 

44 Your Excellency the Hetman of the Crown or 
General never mind which is the correct title I am 
Rembajlo, and I present myself at your summons with 
this my penknife, which, not by its setting nor by its 
inscriptions but by its temper, has won such fame that 
even Your Excellency knows of it. If it knew how to 
speak, perchance it would say somewhat in praise even 
of this old arm, which, thank God, has served long and 
faithfully the Fatherland and likewise the family of the 


Horeszkos : of which fact the memory is still famous 
among men* My boy, rarely does a bookkeeper on an 
estate mend pens so deftly as this penknife cleaves 
heads : it were long to count them ! And noses and 
ears without number ! But there is not a single nick 
upon it, and no murderous deed has ever stained it, 
but only open war, or a duel. Only once ! may the 
Lord give him eternal rest ! an unarmed man, alas, 
fell beneath its edge ! But even that, God is my witness, 
was pro publico bono." 

44 Show it to me," said General Dombrowski with a 
laugh. " That is a lovely penknife, a real headsman's 
sword ! " 

He gazed with amazement on the huge blade, and 
passed it on to the other officers ; all of them tried it, 
but hardly one of the officers could lift that blade on 
high. They said that Dembinski, 209 famous for his 
strength of arm, could have brandished the broadsword, 
but he was not there* Of those present only the squadron 
commander Dwernicki, 210 and Lieutenant Rozycki, 211 the 
leader of a platoon, managed to swing the iron pole : 
thus the blade was passed for trial from hand to hand 
along the line. 

But General Kniaziewicz, the tallest of stature, proved 
to be also the stoutest of arm. Seizing the huge blade, 
he swung it as lightly as a common sword and flashed 
it like lightning over the heads of the guests, recalling 
to their minds the tricks of the Polish school of fencing, 
the cross stroke, the mill, the crooked slash, the downright 
blow, the stolen slash, and the attitudes of counterpoint 212 
and tierce, which he knew likewise, for he had been 
trained in the School of Cadets. 

While he was still laughing and fencing, Rembajlo 
had kneeled and embraced him about the knees, and 


was groaning out between his tears, at every turn of the 
sword : 

44 Beautiful ! General, were you ever a confederate i 
Beautiful, splendid ! That is the Pulawskis' 213 thrust ! 
Thus Dzierzanowski 214 bore himself ! That is Sawa's 
thrust ! Who can so have trained your arm except 
Maciej Dobrzynski ! But that ^ General, that is my 
invention ; in Heaven's name, I do not wish to boast, 
but that stroke is known only in Rembajlo hamlet, and 
from my name it is called My-boy's s/os/z. Who can 
have taught it to you ? That is my stroke, mine ! " 

He rose and clasped the General in his arms, 

" Now I can die in peace ! There still exists a man 
who will fondle my darling child ; for I have long been 
grieving, both day and night, at the thought that after 
my death this my blade might rust away ! Now it will 
not rust ! Your Excellency the General, forgive me ! 
throw away those spits, those German swordlets ; it is 
shameful for a gentleman's son to wear that little cane ! 
Take instead a sabre such as befits a gentleman : now 
I lay at your feet this my penknife, which is the most 
precious thing that I possess in all the world* I have 
never had a wife, I have never had a child : it has been 
both wife and child to me ; from my embrace it has 
never departed ; from dawn till dark have I petted it ; 
it has slept by night at my side I And since I have 
grown old, it has been hanging on the wall above my 
couch, like God's commandments over the Jews ! I 
thought to have it buried in my grave along with my 
arm ; but I have found an owner for it. May it be your 
servant ! " 

The General, half laughing, and half touched with 
emotion, replied : 

" Comrade, if you give up to me your wife and child, 


you will be left for the rest of your life very solitary 
and old, a widower and without children ! Tell me how 
I may recompense you for this precious gift, and with 
what I may sweeten your childless widowhood ! " 

" Am I Cybulski," 216 answered the Warden mourn- 
fully, " who gambled away his wife, playing marriage 
with the Muscovites, as the song relates 4 I am quite 
content that my penknife will still gleam before the world 
in such a hand* Only remember, General, to give it 
a long strap, well let out, for the blade is long ; and 
always hew from the left ear with both hands then 
you will cut through from head to belly/' 

The General took the penknife, but since it was very 
long and he could not wear it, the servants put it away 
in an ammunition waggon* As to what became of it 
there are various tales, but no one knew with certainty, 
either then or later. 

Dombrowski turned to Maciek : 

M What have you to say, comrade 5* Can it be that 
you are not glad at our coming f Why are you silent 
and glum t How can your heart help leaping up when 
you see the gold and silver eagles, and when the trum- 
peters trumpet Kosciuszko's reveille close to your ear t 
Maciek, I thought that you were more of a fighting 
man : if you do not seize your sabre and mount 
your horse, at least you will gaily drink with your 
colleagues to the health of Napoleon and the hopes of 
Poland ! " 

" Ha ! " said Maciej, " I have heard and I see what 
is going on ! But, sir, two eagles never nest together ! 
Lords' favour, hetman, rides a piebald steed ! 216 The 
Emperor a great hero ! On that subject we could 
expend much talk ! I remember that my friends the 
Pulawskis used to say, as they gazed on Dumouriez, 217 


that Poland needed a Polish hero, no Frenchman or 
Italian either, but a Piast, 218 a Jan or a Jozef, or a Maciek 
that's all* The army ! They say it is Polish I But 
these fusileers, sappers, grenadiers, and cannoneers/ 
You hear, in that crowd, more German than native 
titles ! 219 Who can understand them 1 And then you 
must certainly have with you Turks or Tatars or 
Schismatics, or men of God knows what faith : I have 
seen it myself ; they are assaulting the peasant women 
in the villages, plundering the passers-by, pillaging the 
churches ! The Emperor is bound for Moscow ! That 
is a long road if he has set out without the blessing 
of God. I have heard that he has already incurred 
the bishop's curse ; 22 all this is " 

Here Maciej dipped some bread in his soup, munched 
it, and did not finish his last phrase. 

Maciek's speech did not suit the taste of the Chamber- 
lain, and the young men began to murmur ; the Judge 
interrupted the wrangling, by announcing the arrival 
of the third betrothed couple. 

It was the Notary ; he announced himself as the 
Notary, but nobody recognised him. He had hitherto 
worn the Polish costume, but now his future wife, 
Telimena, had forced him by a clause in the marriage 
articles to renounce the kontuss ; 221 so the Notary willy- 
nilly had assumed French garb. The dress coat had 
evidently deprived him of half his soul ; he strode along 
as if he had swallowed a walking-stick, stiffly and straight 
forward ; like a crane, he dared not look to the right 
or the left. His expression was composed, and yet from 
his expression one could see that he was in torture ; 
he did not know how to bow or where to put his hands, 
he, who was so fond of gestures 1 He tucked his hands 
into his belt there was no belt he only stroked him- 


self on the stomach ; he noticed his mistake, was greatly 
confused, turned red as a lobster, and hid both his hands 
in the same pocket of his dress coat* He advanced as 
if running the gauntlet, amid whispers and banter, 
feeling as ashamed of his dress coat as of a dishonourable 
deed ; at last he met the eyes of Maciek, and trembled 
with fright* 

Maciej had hitherto lived on very friendly terms with 
the Notary ; but now he turned on him so sharp and 
furious a glance that the Notary grew pale and began 
to button his coat, thinking that Maciej would tear it 
off him with his glance, Dobrzynski merely repeated 
twice over in a loud voice, " Idiot ! " and was so fear- 
fully disgusted with the Notary's change of garb that 
he at once rose from the table ; slipping out without 
saying good-bye, he mounted his horse and returned 
to the hamlet. 

But meanwhile the Notary's fair sweetheart, Teli- 
mena, was spreading abroad the gleams of her beauty 
and of her toilet, from top to toe of the very latest style. 
What manner of gown she wore, and what her coiffure 
was like, it were vain to write, for the pen could never 
express it ; only the pencil could portray those tulles, 
muslins, laces, cashmeres, pearls and precious stones 
and her rosy cheeks and lively glances ! 

The Count at once recognised her, and, pale with 
astonishment, rose from the table and looked about him 
for his sword. 

44 And is it thou ! " he cried, " or do my eyes deceive 
me t Thou t In my presence t Dost clasp another's 
hand t O faithless being, O traitorous soul ! And dost 
thou not hide thy face for shame beneath the earth $ 
Art thou so unmindful of thy vows so lately made t 
Ah, man of easy faith ! Why have I worn these ribbons J 


But woe to the rival who so contemns me ! Only across 
my body shall he advance to the altar ! " 

The guests arose ; the Notary was in frightful dis- 
tress ; the Chamberlain was making hurried efforts 
to reconcile the rivals, but Telimena, taking the Count 
aside, whispered to him : 

* The Notary has not yet taken me as his wife : if 
you have anything against his doing so, answer me this, 
and answer me right off, short and to the point : do 
you love me, have you not yet changed your affections, 
are you ready to marry me right off ; right off. to-day 4 
If you agree, I will give up the Notary/' 

" O woman beyond my comprehension ! " said the 
Count, " formerly in thy feelings thou wast poetic ; 
but now thou seemest altogether prosaic. What are 
your marriages except chains that bind only the hands 
and not the spirit i Believe me, there are proffers of 
love even without an avowal of it, and there are duties 
even without an engagement 1 Two burning hearts at 
the two ends of the earth converse together like stars 
with trembling beams. Who knows tf Perhaps for this 
very reason the earth so aspires towards the sun, and 
is thus ever dear to the moon that they gaze upon 
each other eternally, and run towards each other by 
the shortest path, but can never draw near to each 
other ! " 

" Enough of that/' she interrupted ; " by the grace 
of God I am no planet, Count ! Enough, Count, I am 
a woman. I know what's coming ; make an end to all 
this chatter. Now I warn you ; if you utter one word 
to break off my marriage, then, as God is in Heaven, I 
will jump at you with these nails and " 

44 I will not disturb your happiness, madam/' said 
the Count, and he turned away his eyes, full of grief 


and contempt ; and, in order to punish his faithless 
sweetheart, he chose the Chamberlain's daughter as 
the object of his constant flames. 

The Seneschal was eager to make peace between the 
estranged young men by citing wise examples, so he 
began to recount the story of the wild boar of the forests 
of Naliboki, and of the quarrel between Rejtan and the 
Prince de Nassau ; 222 but meanwhile the guests had 
finished eating their ices and were going outside the 
castle into the yard, to enjoy the fresh air. 

There the peasantry were just finishing their banquet, 
and pitchers of mead were going the rounds ; the musi- 
cians were already tuning their instruments and sum- 
moning people to dance. They looked for Thaddeus, 
who was standing some distance away and whispering 
something of pressing moment to his future wife : 

44 Sophia, I must take counsel with you in a very 
important matter ; I have already asked my uncle's 
opinion, and he is not opposed. You know that a 
considerable portion of the villages that I am to be the 
owner of, according to the law ought to have descended 
to you. These serfs are not my subjects, but yours ; 
I should not venture to dispose of their affairs without 
the consent of their lady. Now, when we ourselves 
possess once more our beloved Fatherland, shall the 
peasants by that happy change gain only this much, 
that they receive another lord t To be sure, they have 
hitherto been governed with kindness, but after my 
death God knows to whom I may leave them ; I am a 
soldier, and we both are mortal ; I am a man, and I 
fear my own caprices : I shall act with greater security 
if I renounce my own authority and give over the fate 
of the villagers into the protection of the law. Being 
free ourselves, let us make the villagers free likewise ; 


let us grant them as their own the possession of the land 
on which they were born, which they have gained by 
bloody toil, and from which they nourish us all and make 
us all rich* But I must warn you that the grant of these 
lands will lessen our income ; we must live in moderate 
circumstances. I from my youth am wonted to a frugal 
life ; but you, Sophia, spring from a mighty line, and 
have passed your early years in the capital will you con- 
sent to live in a village, far from the great world, like a 
country girl 4 " 

In reply Zosia said modestly : 

44 I am a woman, authority does not belong to me. 
You will be my husband ; I am too young to give 
advice whatever you arrange, I agree to with all my 
heart ! If by freeing the villagers you become poorer, 
then, Thaddeus, you will be all the dearer to my heart. 
Of my family I know little, and to it I am quite indif- 
ferent ; I remember only that I was poor and an orphan, 
and that I was taken in as a daughter by the Soplicas, 
that I was brought up in their house and married from 
it. Of the country I am not afraid : if I have lived in a 
great city, that was long ago ; I have forgotten it, and 
have always loved the country. Believe me, that my 
hens and roosters have given me more amusement than 
all those St. Petersburgs. If at times I have longed for 
amusement and for society, that was from childishness ; 
I know now that the city wearies me. I convinced myself 
last winter, after a short stay in Wilno, that I was born 
for a country life ; in the midst of gaieties I longed once 
more for Soplicowo. And I am not afraid of work, for 
I am young and strong ; I know how to walk about 
the place and wear a bunch of keys : you will see 
how quickly I shall learn how to manage the house- 
hold ! " 


While Zosia was speaking these last words, Gerwazy 
came up to her, amazed and glum. 

" I know it already/' he said, " the Judge has already 
been speaking of this liberty ! But I do not understand 
what that has to do with peasants I I am afraid that there 
may be something a trifle German in this ! Why, liberty 
is not a peasant's affair, but a gentleman's ! To be sure, 
we are all derived from Adam, but I have heard that 
the peasants proceed from Ham, 223 the Jews from 
Japhet, and we gentry from Shem ; hence we are lords 
over both, as the elder brothers. But now the parish 
priest gives us different teaching from the pulpit he 
says that so it was under the old law ; but that when 
once Christ our Lord, though he sprang from the blood 
of kings, was born among Jews in a peasant's stable, 
from that time on he has made equal all classes of men 
and brought in peace among them. Well, so be it, since 
it can't be otherwise ! Especially if, as I hear, Your 
Excellency my Lady Sophia has agreed to everything ; 
it is for you to give orders and for me to obey them : 
authority belongs to you alone. Only I warn you that 
we must not grant merely an empty liberty, in words 
alone, like that under the Muscovites, when the late 
Pan Karp freed his serfs and the Muscovite starved 
them to death with a triple tax. 224 So it is my advice 
that according to the ancient custom we make the 
peasants nobles and proclaim that we bestow on them 
our own coats of arms. You, my lady, will bestow on 
some villages the Half-Goat ; to others let Pan Soplica 
give his Star and Crescent. 225 Then will even Rembajlo 
recognize the peasant as his equal, when he beholds 
him an honourable gentleman, with a coat of arms. The 
Diet will confirm the act. 

" But, sir, do not make anxious your lady wife by 


saying that the giving up of the lands will make you 
both so extremely poor ; God forbid that I should see 
the hands of a dignitary's daughter hardened with 
housewifely labour* There is a way of preventing this : 
in the castle I know of a certain chest in which lies the 
table service of the Horeszkos and with it various 
rings, necklaces, bracelets, rich plumes, caparisons, 
and marvellous swords the Pander's treasures, hidden 
from plunderers, in the ground; to Pani Sophia, as 
his heiress, they belong ; I have guarded them in the 
castle like the eyes in my head, keeping them from the 
Muscovites, and from you, my So plica friends, I have 
likewise a good-sized pouch of my own thalers, saved 
from my earnings, and likewise from the gifts of my 
masters ; I had intended, when the castle should be 
returned to us, to devote some pennies to the repairing 
of the walls to-day it turns out that they will be needed 
for the new style of farming. And so, Pan Soplica, I 
am moving to your abode ; I shall live with my lady, 
on her bounty, and shall rock to sleep a third generation 
of Horeszkos ; I will train my lady's child to use the 
penknife, if it is a son and she will have a son, for 
wars are coming on, and in time of war sons are always 

Hardly had Gerwazy spoken these last words, when 
Protazy approached with dignified steps ; he bowed, 
and took from the bosom of his kontusz a huge pane- 
gyric, two and a half sheets long. 226 It had been com- 
posed in rime by a young subaltern, who once had been 
a famous writer of odes in the capital ; he had later 
donned a uniform, but, retaining even in the army his 
devotion to letters, he still continued to make verses. 
The Apparitor read aloud full three hundred of them ; 
at last, when he came to the place : 


Thou whose fair eyes 
Rouse in us painful joys and blissful sighs ; 
When on Bellona's ranks thy glance descends, 
All spears are broken and each buckler bends : 
To-day soft Hymen conquers cruel Mars ; } 

Thy gentle hand the hissing serpents tears 
From Discord's hydra front, emblem of dreadful wars ) 

Thaddeus and Sophia began to clap vigorously, as if 
in applause, but really because they did not wish to hear 
further* Now at the Judge's bidding the parish priest 
mounted the table and proclaimed Thaddeus's deter- 
mination to the villdgers. 

Hardly had the peasants heard this news, when they 
leapt towards their young master and fell at the feet of 
their lady* " The health of our masters ! " they shouted 
with tears, and Thaddeus shouted, " The health of our 
fellow citizens, free Poles, our equals ! " " I propose 
the health of the common people ! " said Dombrowski 
the people shouted : " Long live the generals, vivat 
the army, vivat the people, vivat all classes ! " With 
a thousand voices, one health thundered after another* 

Buchmann alone did not deign to share in the general 
joy ; he praised the project, but would have preferred 
to change it slightly, and first of all to appoint a legal 
commission, which should but the shortness of the 
time prevented them from adopting Buchmann *s ad- 
vice, for in the yard of the castle the officers and ladies, 
the privates and the village girls were already standing 
in couples : " the polonaise ! " they all shouted with one 
breath. The officers were bringing up the army musi- 
cians, but the Judge whispered in the General's ear : 

44 Pray give orders for the band to restrain itself for a 
while longer. You know that to-day sees the betrothal 
of my nephew, and it is the ancient custom of our family 
to celebrate betrothals and marriages with village music. 


Look, there stand the player of the dulcimer, the fiddler, 
and the bagpiper, all worthy musicians already the 
fiddler is making mouths, and the bagpiper is bowing 
and begging with his eyes that I will have them begin 
the poor fellows will weep. The common folk will not 
know how to skip to other music ; so let them begin 
and let the folk have their fun ; afterwards we will 
listen to your excellent band/' 

He made a sign* The fiddler tucked up the sleeve 
of his coat, squeezed tightly the finger board, rested 
his chin on the tailpiece, and sent his bow over the fiddle 
like a race horse. At this signal, the bagpipers, who 
were standing close by, blew into their sacks and filled 
their cheeks with breath, making a quick motion with 
their arms as though flapping their wings ; you might 
have thought that the pair would fly off on the breeze, 
like the chubby children of Boreas, But there was no 

There were many players of the dulcimer, but none 
of them dared to perform in Jankiel's presence, (Jankiel 
had been spending the whole winter no one knows 
where ; now he had suddenly made his appearance 
along with the General Staff,) Everybody knew that no 
one could compare with him in playing that instrument, 
either in skill, taste, or talent. They begged him to play 
and offered him the dulcimer ; the Jew refused, saying 
that his hands had grown stiff, that he was out of 
practice, that he did not dare to, that he was embar- 
rassed by the men of high station ; with many a bow he 
was stealing away. When Zosia saw this, she ran up, 
and with one white hand proffered him the hammers 
with which the master was wont to sound the strings ; 
with the other hand she stroked the old man's grey 
beard, and said with a curtsy : 


" Jankiel, be so good ; you see this is my betrothal ; 
play for me, JankieL Haven't you often promised to 
play at my wedding t ' 

Jankiel, who was beyond measure fond of Zosia, 
nodded his beard as a sign that he did not refuse. So 
they led him into the centre of the company and put his 
instrument on his knees ; he gazed on it with delight 
and pride, like a veteran called back to active service, 
when his grandsons take down from the wall his heavy 
sword : the old man laughs, though it is long since he 
has had a sword in 'his hand, for he feels that his hand 
will not yet betray the weapon. 

Meanwhile two of his pupils were kneeling by the 
dulcimer, tuning the strings afresh and twanging them 
as a test of their work. Jankiel with half-closed eyes sat 
silent and held the hammers motionless in his fingers. 

He lowered them, at first beating a triumphal measure; 
then he smote the strings more briskly, as with a torrent 
of rain : all were amazed, but that was only a test, 
for he suddenly broke off and lifted both hammers 

He played anew ; now the strings trembled with 
motions as light as though the wing of a fly were sound- 
ing on the string, giving forth a gentle, hardly audible 
buzzing. The master fixed his gaze on the sky, awaiting 
inspiration ; he looked down and surveyed the instru- 
ment with a haughty eye, he raised his hands and 
lowered them together, and smote with both hammers 
at once ; the auditors were amazed. 

All at once from many strings there burst forth a sound 
as though a whole janissaries' band had become vocal with 
bells and cymbals and drums. 227 The Polonaise of the 
Third of May 228 thundered forth ! The rippling notes 
breathed of joy, they poured joy into one's ears ; the 


girls wanted to dance and the boys could not stand 
still but the notes carried the thoughts of the old men 
back into the past, to those happy years when the Senate 
and the House of Deputies, after that great day of the 
Third of May, celebrated in the assembly hall the 
reconciliation of King and Nation ; when they danced 
and sang, " Vivat our beloved King, vivat the Diet, vivat 
the people, vivat all classes I " 

The master kept quickening the time and playing 
with greater power, but suddenly he struck a false 
chord like the hiss of a snake, like the grating of iron 
on glass it sent a shudder through every one, and 
mingled with the general gaiety an ill-omened fore- 
boding. Disturbed and alarmed, the hearers wondered 
whether the instrument might not be out of tune, 
or the musician be making a blunder* Such a master 
had not blundered I He purposely kept touching that 
traitorous string and breaking up the melody, striking 
louder and louder that angry chord, confederated against 
the harmony of the tones ; at last the Warden under- 
stood the master, covered his face in his hands, and cried, 
" I know, I know those notes ; that is Targowica I " 
And suddenly the ill-omened string broke with a hiss ; 
the musician rushed to the treble notes, broke up and 
confused the measure, abandoned the treble notes, and 
hurried his hammers to the bass strings. 

One could hear louder and louder a thousand 
noises, measured marching, war, an attack, a storm; one 
could hear the reports of guns, the groans of children, 
the weeping of mothers. So finely did the wonderful 
master render the horrors of a storm that the village 
girls trembled, calling to mind with tears of grief the 
Massacre of Praga, 229 which they knew from song and 
story ; they were glad when finally the master thundered 


with all the strings at once, and choked the outcries as 
though he had crushed them into the earth. 

Hardly did the hearers have time to recover from their 
amazement, when once more the music changed : at 
first there were once more light and gentle hummings ; 
a few thin strings complained together, like flies striving 
to free themselves from the spider's web* But more 
and more strings joined them ; now the scattered tones 
were blended and legions of chords were united ; now 
they advanced measuredly with harmonious notes, 
forming the mourrlful melody of that famous song of 
the wandering soldier who travels through woods and 
through forests, ofttimes fainting with woe and with 
hunger : at last he falls at the feet of his faithful steed, 
and the steed with his foot digs a grave for him. A poor 
old song, yet very dear to the Polish troops ! The soldiers 
recognized it, and the privates crowded about the master; 
they hearkened, and they remembered that dreadful 
season when over the grave of their country they had 
sung this song and departed for the ends of the earth ; 
they called to mind their long years of wandering, over 
lands and seas, over frosts and burning sands, amid 
foreign peoples, where often in camp they had been 
cheered and heartened by this folk song. So thinking, 
they sadly bowed their heads ! 

But they raised them straightway, for the master was 
playing stronger and higher notes ; he changed his 
measure, and proclaimed something quite different 
from what had preceded. Once more he looked down 
and measured the strings with his eye ; he joined his 
hands and smote with the two hammers in unison : the 
blow was so artistic, so powerful, that the strings rang 
like brazen trumpets, and from the trumpets a well- 
known song floated to the heavens, a triumphal march, 


44 Poland has not yet perished ; march, Dombrowski, to 
Poland ! " And all clapped their hands, and all shouted 
in chorus, " March, Dombrowski ! " 

The musician seemed amazed at his own song; he 
dropped the hammers from his hands and raised his 
arms aloft ; his fox-skin cap dropped from his head to 
his shoulders ; his uplifted beard waved majestically ; 
his cheeks glowed with a strange flush ; in his glance, 
full of spirit, shone the fire of youth. At last, when the 
old man turned his eyes on Dombrowski, he covered 
them with his hands, and from under his hands gushed 
a stream of tears. 

" General/' said he, " long has our Lithuania awaited 
thee long, even as we Jews have awaited the Messiah ; 
of thee in olden times minstrels prophesied among the 
folk ; thy coming was heralded by a marvel in the sky. 
Live and wage war, O thou our " 

As he spoke, he sobbed ; the honest Jew loved his 
country like a Pole ! Dombrowski extended his hand 
to him and thanked him ; Jankiel, doffing his cap, kissed 
the leader's hand. 

It was time to begin the polanaise. The Chamber- 
lain stepped forward, and, lightly throwing back the 
flowing sleeves of his kontusz and twirling his mustache, 
he offered his arm to Zosia ; with a polite bow he invited 
her to lead off in the first couple. Behind the Chamber- 
lain a long line of couples formed ; the signal was given 
and the dance began he was its leader. 

Over the greensward glittered his crimson boots, the 
light gleamed from his sabre and his rich girdle shone ; 
he advanced slowly, with seeming carelessness yet 
in every step and every motion one could read the 
feelings and the thoughts of the dancer. He stopped, as 
if he wished to question his lady ; he bent his head down 


towards her as if wishing to whisper in her ear ; the lady 
averted her head, was bashful, would not listen ; he 
doffed his white cap and bowed humbly ; the lady 
deigned to gaze upon him, but still kept a stubborn 
silence ; he slackened his pace, followed her glances 
with his eyes, and at last he laughed* Happy in her 
reply, he advanced more quickly, gating down at his 
rivals ; now he hung his white cap with its heron's 
plumes over his brow, now he shook it above his brow ; 
at last he cocked it over his ear and twirled his mustache* 
He strode on ; all felt envious of him and pressed upon 
him in pursuit ; he would have been glad to steal away 
from the throng with his lady ; at times he stood still, 
courteously raised his hand, and humbly begged them 
to pass by ; sometimes he meditated withdrawing 
adroitly to one side ; he often changed his course, and 
would have been glad to elude his comrades, but they 
importunately followed him with swift steps, and en- 
circled him from all sides in the evolutions of the dance : 
so he grew angry, and laid his right hand on his sword 
hilt, as if to say : " I care not for you ; woe to those 
who are jealous of me ! " He turned about with a 
haughty brow and with a challenge in his eye, and made 
straight for the throng ; the throng of dancers did not 
dare withstand him, but retired from his path and, 
changing their formation, they started again in pursuit 
of him* 

Cries rang out on all sides : " Ah, perhaps he is the 
last watch, watch, you young men perhaps he is the 
last who can lead the polonaise in such fashion ! " 
And the couples followed one another merrily and up- 
roariously ; the circle would disperse and then contract 
once more 1 As when an immense serpent twines into 
a thousand folds, so there was seen a perpetual change 


amid the gay, parti-coloured garments of the ladies, the 
gentlemen, and the soldiers, like glittering scales gilded 
by the beams of the western sun and relieved against 
the dark pillows of turf. Brisk was the dance and loud 
the music, the applause, and the drinking of healths. 

Corporal Buzzard Dobrzynski alone neither listened 
to the band, nor danced, nor made him merry; with 
his hands behind him he stood glum and sullen and 
called to mind his old-time wooing of Zosia ; how he 
had loved to bring her flowers, to plait little baskets, to 
gather birds' nests, to make little earrings* Ungrateful 
girl ! Though he had wasted upon her so many lovely 
gifts, though she had fled from him, though his father 
had forbidden him, yet how many times he had sat 
on the wall just to see her through the window, and 
had stolen into the hemp in order to watch how she 
tended her little flower garden, picked cucumbers, or 
fed the roosters 1 Ungrateful girl ! He drooped his 
head ; finally he whistled a mazurka ; then he jammed 
his casque down over his ears and went to the camp, 
where the sentinels were standing by the cannon : there, 
to distract his mind, he began a game of cribbage with 
the private soldiers, and sweetened his sorrow with the 
cup. Such was the constancy of Dobrzynski to Zosia. 

Zosia was dancing merrily : but, though she was in 
the first couple, from a distance she could hardly be 
seen ; on the broad surface of the turf-spread court, 
in her green gown and decked with garlands and with 
flowery wreaths, she circled amid the grasses and 
flowers unseen in her flight, guiding the dance as 
an angel guides the motion of the stars by night : you 
could guess where she was, for towards her all eyes were 
turned and all arms stretched out; towards her the 
tumult pressed. In vain did the Chamberlain strive to 


remain by her side ; his envious rivals had already 
pressed him out of the first couple : nor did the happy 
Dombrowski long enjoy his triumph ; he yielded her to 
a second, but a third was already hastening up ; and he, 
too, at once pressed aside, departed without hope* At 
last Zosia, by this time wearied, met Thaddeus as she 
passed down the line ; and, fearing further change, 
and wishing to remain with him, she brought the dance 
to an end. She went to the table to pour wine for the 

The sun was already setting, the evening was warm 
and quiet ; the circle of the heavens, here and there 
strewn with little clouds, was azure on high, but rosy 
in the west ; the little clouds foretold fine weather, 
being light and shining here like flocks of sheep 
sleeping on the greensward, there of somewhat smaller 
size, like coveys of teal. In the west was a cloud in 
shape like the drapery curtains of a couch, transparent 
and with many folds, pearly at the summit, gilded on 
the margin, purple in the centre ; it still burned and 
glowed with the western gleams ; at last it slowly turned 
yellow, then pale and grey; the sun dropped its head, 
drew the cloud about it, and sighing a single time with 
a warm breath it fell asleep. 230 

But the gentlefolk continued to drink and to propose 
the healths of Napoleon, the Generals, Thaddeus, and 
Zosia ; finally of all three betrothed pairs in turn, of all 
the guests present with them, of all those that had been 
invited, of all the friends that any one alive could remem- 
ber, and of all the dead whose memory had remained 

And I was there among the guests, and there drank wine and mead ; 
And what I saw and heard I wrote, that all of you might read. 231 


[Such of the following notes as are not enclosed in 
brackets are by Mickiewicz himself* They include the 
entire commentary that the poet published with Pan 
Tadeusz. The other notes are either by the translator 
or culled from the following books or suggested by 
them : 

Mickiewicz, Pisma, wyd. Kallenbach (Brody, 1911), 
torn v. (This includes a " glossary " to Pan Tadeusz by 
Franciszek Jerzy Jaroszynski.) 

Mickiewicz, Master Thaddeus ; or, The Last Foray 
in Lithuania ; translated by Maude Ashurst Biggs, 
with notes by the translator and Edmond S. Naganowski 
(London, 1885). 

Mickiewicz, (Euvres poetiques completes t trad. Chris- 
tien Ostrowski, ed. 4 (Paris, 1859). 

Mickiewicz, Herr Thaddaus, iibersetzt von Siegfried 
Lipiner, ed. 2 (Leipzig, 1898). 

It was difficult to draw the line between direct 
quotation and mere utilization of material. In particular, 
the translator's indebtedness to Jaroszynski is much 
greater than the quotation marks here used would 


[The following summary of a few important events in Polish 
history, and of some of the leading features of Polish society 
and institutions, may be of assistance to readers of Pan Tadeusz. 

The Polish Commonwealth was formed by the union of two 
separate states, Poland proper on the west, with a population 
predominantly Polish, and Lithuania on the east, with a popula- 
tion Lithuanian in the north (Lithuania proper) and Russian in 
the rest of its territory. After being long at odds with each other 



and with the German Knights of the Cross, these two states 
were united in 1386 by the marriage of Queen Jadwiga of Poland 
to the heathen Prince Jagiello of Lithuania, who thereupon accepted 
Christianity (p. 288). They remained under the dominion of the 
Jagiellos until the last of the male line of that house, Zygmunt 
August (compare note 64), died childless in 1572, and the throne 
became elective. The union was at first very loose, depending 
only on the person of the sovereign, but it became constantly 
closer, until in 1569 the two states agreed to have a common Diet, 
sitting at Warsaw. Lithuania retained until the last, however, 
its separate officials, treasury, and army (compare pp. 171 and 
310, and note 29). A constant stream of colonisation flowed east 
from Poland (called the Crown or the Kingdom) into Lithuania 
(p. 1 68), until the gentry of that country became Polish, while 
the peasantry remained either Lithuanian or Russian. 

In the Polish Commonwealth the towns were of small impor- 
tance ; their inhabitants, though personally free, had almost 
no political rights. The country population was divided into the 
szlachta, or freemen, who fought the battles of the country and 
in whom was vested the entire political power, and the chlopi, 
or peasants, who were serfs, and cultivated the estates of the 
szlachta. The szlachta, who formed about a tenth of the popu- 
lation of the country, were legally all of equal rank (p. 100) ; 
as a matter of fact, differences of property created great social 
and even (in practice) political distinctions between them. Some 
of them, possessed of mere patches of land, lived a life little 
different from that of the peasants (p. 167). Still others entirely 
lost their land and became attached, even as menial servants, to 
the households of their richer neighbours. (Thus Gerwazy was a 
servant, though not quite a menial, of the Pantler.) The great land 
owners (or magnates), by gathering around them hordes of gentle- 
born, landless dependents, were able to support private armies, 
and to exercise a preponderating influence on the affairs of the 
country. Hence the Constitution of May 3, 1 79 1 , excluded szlachta 
not holding land from the right to vote. In English works on 
Poland the words szlachta and szlachcic have usually been rendered 
as nobility and noble ; in the present volume the terms gentry and 
gentleman are used, which, though far from satisfactory, are at 
all events somewhat less misleading. 

The adoption of the elective instead of the hereditary principle 
in Poland after the extinction of the Jagiello line led to frequent 
civil wars, and was one cause of the country's decline in power 
during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The King was 
elected for life by the whole body of the gentry, and every gentle- 
man was theoretically eligible to the crown (p. 264). Poland's 
peculiar parliamentary system also contributed to its decay. Laws 
were made by a Diet of which the upper house, or Senate, was 
formed by the bishops, wojewodas (see note 26), castellans (see 

NOTES 333 

note 38), and ministers, while the lower house was composed of 
deputies elected by district diets (p. 303). A unanimous vote was 
required on all measures ; more than this, any one deputy by his 
veto could dissolve the Diet, even in the last moments of its session, 
and undo all the work previously accomplished. This law of 
the liberum veto, and the elective nature of the royal office, offered 
countless opportunities for foreign nations to interfere in the 
affairs of the Commonwealth. The district diets, besides electing 
deputies to the General Diet, instructed them how to vote, and 
chose local officials (p. 75) ; they also were bound by the rule of 
the liberum veto (pp. 182, 304). Under such a constitution the only 
practical means of reform was through armed rebellion. Hence 
rebellions, or confederacies, were legalised in Poland ; a number 
of citizens might combine together, choose a marshal (pp. 180, 
182, 285), and seek to overthrow the established order; in case of 
success they became the government, in case of failure they were 
not liable to punishment. A diet held by a confederacy was not 
subject to the liberum veto, but adopted decisions by a majority 

In the seventeenth century, not to speak of civil troubles, 
Poland was devastated by disastrous wars, in particular with the 
Cossacks and with the Swedes (1655-60 ; pp. 169, 302). The great 
victory of Jan Sobieski, the warrior king, over the Turks in 1683, 
when he went to the relief of Vienna, was the last military triumph 
of old Poland (pp. 167, 170, 200, 201). 

During the eighteenth century Poland sank to a condition of 
disgraceful dependence on Russia. In 1764 Catharine II. caused 
her favourite, Stanislaw Poniatowski, to be elected King. In 1768 
Polish patriots, in a convulsive effort to throw off the Russian 
ascendancy, organised the Confederacy of Bar, which maintained 
a desperate struggle for four years. The Confederacy was crushed 
by Russia, and soon after its defeat followed the first partition of 
Poland (1772), by which Russia received a large share of the 
former Lithuanian provinces. A Diet, convoked under the forms 
of a confederacy, in order to avoid dissolution by the liberum veto, 
was obliged to sanction this partition. The desperate opposition 
of Rejtan, the deputy from the district of Nowogrodek (that is, 
from the region of which Mickiewicz was a native), Korsak, and 
other patriots, was of no avail (pp. 3, 139, 140). 

After the disaster of the first partition the patriotic party in 
Poland made efforts to save their country, which culminated in 
the Four Years' Diet (1788-92). The labours of this Diet, which 
again was convoked under the forms of a confederacy, culminated 
in the Constitution of May 3, 1791. This measure, which was 
drawn up in secret and rushed through the Diet at a time when 
most of its probable opponents were absent, transformed Poland 
from an aristocratic republic into a constitutional hereditary 
monarchy, abolished the liberum veto, and secured religious 


toleration. Amid great enthusiasm the King took the oath to the 
new order of government (p. 324). 

In the next year, however, a group of upholders of the old 
anarchic state of affairs, one of whose leaders was Ksawery 
Branicki (p. 200), formed with the support of Russia a confederacy 
which was proclaimed at Targowica (pp. 274, 324), a small town in 
the Ukraine, and the object of which was the undoing of the work 
of the Four Years' Diet. The Russian armies entered the country 
and overcame the resistance of the Polish troops, two of the 
foremost leaders of which were Prince Joseph Poniatowski, the 
nephew of the King, and Kosciuszko. Then followed the second 
partition of Poland (1793), by which the territory of the Common- 
wealth was reduced to about one third of its original dimensions. 
In the next year occurred a popular revolt, of which Kosciuszko 
assumed the leadership, and which, despite a brilliant victory 
at Raclawice (p. 252), near Cracow, and some other successes, 
was soon quelled by the allied powers, Russia, Prussia, and Austria. 
In a battle at Maciejowice (p. 252) Kosciuszko was defeated, and, 
severely wounded, was himself taken prisoner by the Russians. 
The final episode of the war was the fall of Warsaw. Suvorov, 
the Russian commander, captured by storm Praga, a suburb 
of the city, and gave over its inhabitants to massacre (pp. 3, 324). 
In the following year, 1795, the remnant of the Polish kingdom 
was divided among the three allies. 

Even now not all the Poles despaired of their country's fate. 
The idea arose of transferring to France the headquarters of 
Polish interests and of forming bodies of Polish troops that should 
fight for France against the common enemies of France and 
Poland and thereby prepare themselves for service in the restora- 
tion of Poland. The leader of this movement, and the most noted 
general of the new Polish Legions f was Jan Henryk Dombrowski, 
who had won fame in the war of 1794. The Legions' first field 
of activity was in northern Italy, where they supported the struggle 
of Lombardy for independence. Here arose (1797) the famous 
Song of the Legions, " Poland has not yet perished, while we still 
live " (pp. 3, 97, 325, 326). In the next year (1798) Dombrowski 
aided the French in the capture of Rome, and Kniaziewicz was 
put in command of the garrison on the Capitol (p. 31). In 1800 
a new Polish force won laurels at Marengo and Hohenlinden 
(p. 286). In return for these services Bonaparte did nothing 
whatever for the restoration of Poland. The legions were sent 
oversea to reduce the negro insurrection in the island of San 
Domingo, where the greater part of them perished (1803 ; p. 31). 

In 1806, after his victory at Jena (p. 176), Napoleon summoned 
the Poles to his standards. A large force was organised, under 
the command of Prince Joseph Poniatowski and Dombrowski. 
In the succeeding war, which includes the siege and capture of 
Dantzic (p. 116) and the battle of Preussisch-Eylau (p. 251), 

NOTES 335 

Napoleon decisively defeated the Russians at Friedland (1807) 
and soon after concluded the Peace of Tilsit (p. 161). By this 
treaty there was created, out of a portion of the Polish lands re- 
ceived by Prussia at the different partitions, a new state, known 
as the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, and ruled by the King of Saxony 
as a constitutional monarch under the protection of Napoleon. 
The Niemen divided this new state from the portion of Poland 
under the rule of Russia (pp. 31, 255). 

The new Grand Duchy had to furnish troops in aid of Napoleon. 
In 1808 the Polish light cavalry, led by Kozietulski, won glory 
by the capture of Somosierra, a defile leading to Madrid (p. 286). 

In 1809, after a war with Austria, in which he received valuable 
aid from the Poles, Napoleon increased the Grand Duchy of 
Warsaw by lands taken from that country. Tardy and ungenerous 
though his action had been, he had thus done something to 
justify the hopes of the Poles that he would one day reconstitute 
their Commonwealth as a whole. Hence it will be clear with what 
enthusiasm Poland, and still more Lithuania, awaited the out- 
come of a great war between Napoleon and Russia, such as was 
evidently approaching in the year 1811. The Poles believed 
Napoleon to be unconquerable, and trusted that when he had 
defeated Russia he would proclaim the reunion of Lithuania 
with the Grand Duchy of Warsaw ; then Poland would live once 
more (pp. 160, 277). 

The actual outcome of the war was a crushing blow to Polish 
hopes. Napoleon's invasion of Russia resulted in his utter defeat ; 
after his flight home his army was defeated at Leipzig (1813), 
where Prince Joseph Poniatowski met his death. Two years 
later, at the Congress of Vienna, the greater portion of Poland 
was given over to Russia, to be governed as a constitutional state. 
Such it remained, in name at least, until the desperate insurrec- 
tion of 1831, the failure of which ended all pretence of Polish 
self-government under Russian rule. To drown the grief and 
despair with which that tragedy had filled his mind Mickiewicz 
turned back in the next year (when he began Pan Tadeusz) to 
the scenes of his childhood, to the days full of hope and joyful 
expectation that had preceded Napoleon's attack on Russia.] 

1 In the time of the Polish Commonwealth the carrying out 
of judicial decrees was very difficult, in a country where the exe- 
cutive authorities had almost no police at their disposal, and where 
powerful citizens maintained household regiments, some of them, 
for example the Princes Radziwill, even armies of several thousand. 
So the plaintiff who had obtained a verdict in his favour had to 
apply for its execution to the knightly order, that is to the gentry, 
with whom rested also the executive power. Armed kinsmen, 
friends, and neighbours set out, verdict in hand, in company with 
the apparitor, and gained possession, often not without bloodshed, 


of the goods adjudged to the plaintiff, which the apparitor legally 
made over or gave into his possession. Such an armed execution 
of a verdict was called a zajazd [foray]. In ancient times, while 
laws were respected, even the most powerful magnates did not 
dare to resist judicial decrees, armed attacks rarely took place, 
and violence almost never went unpunished. Well known in 
history is the sad end of Prince Wasil Sanguszkp, and of Stad- 
nicki, called the Devil. The corruption of public morals in the 
Commonwealth increased the number of forays, which continually 
disturbed the peace of Lithuania. [The rendering of zajazd by 
foray is of course inexact and conventional ; but the translator 
did not wish to use the Polish word and could find no better 
English equivalent.] 

2 Every one in Poland knows of the miraculous image of Our 
Lady at Jasna Gora in Czenstochowa. In Lithuania there are 
images of Our Lady, famed for miracles, at the Ostra [Pointed] Gate 
in Wilno, the Castle in Nowogrodek, and at Zyrowiec and Boruny. 

3 [See p. 332.] 

4 [Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Kosciuszko (1746-1817). This most 
famous Polish patriot was a native of the same portion of Lithuania 
as Mickiewicz. He early emigrated to America and served with 
distinction in the Revolutionary War. On his later career see p, 
334. After the failure of the insurrection of 1794 Kosciuszko was 
imprisoned for two years in St. Petersburg ; in 1796, on the death 
of Catharine, he was released by Paul. He thereafter lived in 
retirement, first in France and then in Switzerland, resisting all 
the attempts of Napoleon to draw him into his service. At the 
Congress of Vienna he made fruitless efforts in behalf of Poland. 
His memory is probably more reverenced by the Polish people 
than that of any other man. His remains rest in the cathedral at 
Cracow, and on the outskirts of the city is a mound of earth 150 
feet high raised as a monument to him.] 

5 [Czamarka (diminutive of czamara) in the original ; see 
note 82.] 

6 [See p. 333. Rejtan had taken part in the Confederacy of 
Bar. Owing to the disasters to Poland he lost his reason, and in 
1780 he killed himself.] 

7 [A soldier and poet, of a Wilno family. As a colonel of 
engineers he fought in the war of 1792. He prepared and led the 
insurrection in Wilno in 1794, and perished at the siege of Praga 
in the same year.] 

8 [See p. 333. Korsak was a deputy to the Four Years' Diet, 
and a leader in Kosciuszko's insurrection. He perished by the 
side of Jasinski.] 

9 The Russian government in conquered countries never im- 
mediately overthrows their laws and civil institutions, but by its 
edicts it slowly undermines and saps them. For example, in 
Little Russia the Lithuanian Statute, modified by edicts, was 

NOTES 337 

maintained until the most recent times. Lithuania was allowed 
to retain its ancient organisation of civil and criminal courts. 
So, as of old, rural and town judges are elected in the districts, 
and superior judges in the provinces. But since there is an appeal 
to St. Petersburg, to many institutions of various rank, the local 
courts are left with hardly a shadow of their traditional dignity. 

10 The Wojski (tribunus) was once an officer charged with the 
protection of the wives and children of the gentry during the 
time of service of the general militia. But this office without 
duties long ago became merely titular. In Lithuania there is a 
custom of giving by courtesy to respected persons some ancient 
title, which becomes legalised by usage. For instance, the neigh- 
bours call one of their friends Quartermaster, Pantler, or Cup- 
bearer, at first only in conversation and in correspondence, but 
later even in official documents. The Russian government has 
forbidden such titles, and would like to cover them with ridicule 
and to introduce in their place the system of titles based on the 
ranks in its own hierarchy, to which the Lithuanians still have 
great repugnance. [The present translator has followed Ostrpw- 
ski's example in rendering wojski as seneschal, " ne pouvant mieux 

11 [See p. 334 and note 176.] 

12 The Chamberlain, once a noted and dignified official, 
Princeps Nobilitatis f under the Russian government has become 
merely a titular dignitary. Formerly he was still judge of boun- 
dary disputes, but he finally lost even that part of his jurisdiction. 
Now he occasionally takes the place of the Marshal, and appoints 
the komornicy or district surveyors. 

13 [" The outer garment of the ancient Polish costume, a sort 
of loose frock or coat, falling below the knees, and secured by a 
girdle round the waist. The effect was remarkably picturesque 
and graceful." M. A. Biggs. A characteristic feature of the 
kontusz was the turned-back upper false sleeves.] 

14 The Apparitor (wozny) or Bailiff, who was chosen from among 
the landed gentry by the decree of a tribunal or court, carried 
summonses, proclaimed persons in legal possession of property 
adjudged to them, made inquests, called cases on the court's 
calendar, etc. Usually this office was assigned to one of the 
minor gentry. 

16 [See p. 334 and note 176.] 

16 [A Lithuanian dish of beet leaves and cream, served with 
ice. Mickiewicz later repeats this passage in true Homeric 
fashion : see pp. 85, 133.] 

17 [An allusion to a tale told by Suetonius, Life of Vespasian t 

18 The buzzard is a bird resembling a hawk. It is well known 
how a flock of small birds, particularly swallows, will pursue a 
hawk. Hence the proverb, to fly as after a buzzard. 



19 [The reference is to the plica polonica, a disease of the hair 
in which it becomes matted and twisted together. It is common 
in certain parts of Poland, as its name indicates.] 

20 [JRobak is the Polish word for worm.] 

21 [Pint is the Russian word for rascal. Compare p. 225.] 

22 Among the Russian peasantry numerous stories are current 
in regard to the incantations of Bonaparte and Suyorov. 

23 The assessors form the rural police of a district. According 
to the edicts, they are in part elected by the citizens, in part 
appointed by the government; these last are called the crown 
assessors. Judges of appeal are also called assessors, but there is 
no reference to them here. 

24 One class of notaries (rejenci aktowi) have charge of certain 
government bureaus ; others (rejenci dekretowi) record verdicts : 
all are appointed by the clerks of the courts. 

26 [See p. 333.] 

26 Joseph, Count Niesiolowski, the last Wojewoda of Nowo- 
grodek, was president of the revolutionary government during 
Jasinski's insurrection. [A wojewoda was the chief dignitary of 
a Polish province or wojewodeship. The office had very slight 
duties, and was rather a title of distinction than an administrative 
position. It was particularly valued because it conferred a seat 
in the Senate.] 

27 Jerzy Bialopiotrowicz, the last Secretary of the Grand Duchy 
of Lithuania, took an active part in the Lithuanian insurrection 
under Jasinski. He was judge of the state prisoners at Wilno. 
He was a man highly honoured in Lithuania for his virtues and 
his patriotism. 

28 [According to a mythical story current in Poland, three 
brothers, Lech, Czech, and Rus, were the founders of the Polish, 
Bohemian, and Russian nations. Compare p. 289.] 

29 At Sluck there was a famous factory for making gold brocade 
and massive belts, which supplied all Poland. It was perfected 
by the efforts of Tyzenhaus. [" Antoni Tyzenhaus, 1733-85, 
first Grand Secretary, later Under-Court-Treasurer of Lithuania, 
a man who did much for the elevation of the economic condition 
and of the state of education in Lithuania, for a long time an 
unwavering partisan of King Stanislaw August." Jaroszynski. 
Compare p. 173.] 

30 [In the original, Golden Altar, a title of numerous Polish 
books of devotion in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.] 

31 The Court Calendar (Trybunahka Wokanda) was a long, 
narrow little book, in which were entered the names of the 
parties to suits in the order of the defendants. Every advocate 
and apparitor had to own such a calendar. 

32 [The reference is of course to the golden eagles of Napoleon 
joined with the silver eagles of Poland. The Polish coat-of-anns 
shows a white eagle on a red field.] 

NOTES 339 

33 [Jan Henryk Dombrowski (1755-1818) : see p. 334. He 
took part in almost all the wars of Napoleon ; in 1812 he was 
stationed in White Russia and had an active share in the campaign 
only towards its close.] 

34 General Kniaziewicz, as messenger of the Italian army, 
delivered to the Directory the captured standards. [Otton-Karol 
Kniaziewicz (1762-1842). He, like Dombrowski, had taken part 
in Kosciuszko's insurrection.] 

35 Prince Jablonowski, in command of the Legion of the Danube, 
died in San Domingo, and almost all his legion perished 
there. Among the Polish emigrants there are a few veterans 
who survived that unhappy expedition, among others General 
Malachowski. [See p. 281 and note 184.] 

36 An organ was ordinarily set in the gallery of the old castles. 

37 [" The health of the Primate of Poland (Archbishop of 
Gnesen) was drunk after that of the King, because he was the 
highest dignitary in the Kingdom. Between the death of one 
sovereign and [the] election of his successor, he was Interrex." 
M. A. Biggs.] 

38 [The office of castellan was next in dignity to that of wojewoda ; 
except for some very slight military duties the post was purely 
titular, but it was prized because it entitled the holder to a seat 
in the Senate.] 

39 Black soup, served at table to a young man suing for a young 
woman's hand, signified a refusal. [Naganowski states that it 
is " a thickish soup, made chiefly of the blood of a duck or goose, 
vinegar, and spice/'] 

40 [See p. 333.] 

41 [The bracketed passage was inserted by the translator.] 

1 These barges (wiciny) are large boats on the Niemen, with 
which the Lithuanians carry on trade with the Prussians, freight- 
ing grain down the river and receiving colonial wares in return 
for it* 

43 \Zrazy in the original. " A national dish, prepared as 
follows : Take good and tender beef, mince it fine, add a little 
butter, spice, onions, salt, pepper, egg, bread-crumbs, make 
small pats or cakes of the compound ; fried, boiled, or stewed." 
M. A. Biggs.] 

44 [Son of a bitch.] 
46 [Goat-strangler.] 

46 [The north - western part of old Poland, including the 
portion now incorporated in Prussia.] 

47 Prince Dominik Radziwill, a great lover of hunting, emi- 
grated to the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, and equipped at his own 
cost a regiment of cavalry, which he commanded m person. He 
died in France. With him became extinct the male line of the 
Princes of Olyka and Nieswiez, the most powerful lords in 
Poland and in all probability in Europe* 



48 Mejen distinguished himself in the national war under 
Kosciuszko. Mejen's ramparts are still shown near Wilno. 

49 [Kite.] 

50 [The translator has omitted the phrase, " called little grand- 

51 [The translation of this poem by Miss M. A. Biggs contains a 
note " supplied by Dr. Rostafinski of Cracow " as to the scientific 
names of the different mushrooms mentioned by Mickiewicz. 

44 (i) Lisica [fox -mushroom]. Cantarellus cibarius (Chanta- 


(a) Borowik [pine-lover]. Boletus edulis (called in Lithuania 

(3) Rydz [orange-agaric]. Agaricus deliciosus. 

(4) Muchomor [fly -bane]. Amanita muscaria, or Agaricus 

muscarius (fly-agaric). This is the Siberian fungus, 
with remarkable intoxicating properties. 

(5) Surojadki [leaf-mushrooms]. A species of the Russula. 

Those quoted by Mickiewicz seem to be Russula 
nitida, R. alutacea, and R. emetica. 

(6) Kozlak. Two species of Boletus ; one B. fateus, the 

other (mentioned in the text) B. luridus (poisonous). 

(7) Bielaki [whities]. Agaricus piperatus and Agaricus 


(8) Purchawki [puffball]. Ly coper don bovista. 

(9) Lejki [funnels]. The word does not signify any particular 

sort of fungus ; it may be that the poet created 
the name a forma. The shape suggests Agaricus 

52 A well-known Lithuanian folk-song tells of the mushrooms 
marching to war under the lead of the pine-lover. In this song the 
qualities of the edible mushrooms are described. 

53 [Zosia is the diminutive of Zofia (Sophia).] 

54 [Telimena's last words are taken almost literally from a 
popular song, Serce nie sluga.] 

55 [The Breughels were a famous family of Dutch painters of 
the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Pieter had a bent 
towards diabolic scenes, whence he received the title " hell 
Breughel " (Van der Helle) ; Jan, his younger brother, was a 
master in the painting of landscapes, flowers, flies, etc. Appar- 
ently the Count's learning did not extend to the father of these 
two brothers, who was also a famous painter.] 

56 A noted genre painter; some years before his death he began 
to paint landscapes. He died recently in St. Petersburg. 

* 7 [The Polish points the contrast by a rime : " the uproar 
was not funereal, but dinnerial."] 

68 [This translation of the Polish matecznik is of course purely 
conventional : compare pp. 105-107.] 

NOTES 34 1 

59 The breed of small, strong English dogs, called bulldogs 
[literally, leeches], is used for hunting big game, particularly bears, 

60 The sprawnik or kapitan sprawnik is the chief of the rural 
police. The strapczy is a sort of government attorney. These 
two officials, who have frequent opportunities for misusing their 
authority, are greatly hated by the people generally. [These 
offices, and the names of them, are Russian, not Polish. Strap- 
czyna would be the name given to the wife of a strapczy.] 

61 [The paragraph here inclosed in brackets is not found in the 
editions of Pan Tadeusz published during the lifetime of Mickie- 
wicz. It occurs in his manuscript, among many other passages 
that he did not choose to print ; in the edition of 1858 it was 
added to the printed text. It has been included here, though 
with some hesitation, because the succeeding narrative did not 
seem quite clear without it. It seemed needless to record other 
variant readings, even in these notes ; they are of little interest 
except to special students of the work of Mickiewicz.] 

62 According to the tradition, Grand Prince Giedymin had a 
dream on the mountain of Ponary of an iron wolf, and by the 
counsel of the wajdelota [bard] Lizdejko founded the city of 

63 [Witenes and Mindowe (also called Mendog) were early 
princes of Lithuania. Giedymin (died 1341) was the founder of 
the power of that nation, and the father of Olgierd and Kiejstut, 
One son of Kiejstut was Witold, famous as a warrior and prince* 
One son of Olgierd was Jagiello : see p. 332. Lizdejko is said to 
have been the last high priest of heathen Lithuania.] 

64 Zygmunt August [1548-72] was raised to the throne of the 
Grand Duchy of Lithuania according to the ancient rites ; he 
girt on him the sword and crowned himself with the soft cap 
(kolpak). He was a great lover of hunting. 

65 In the district of Rosieny, on the estate of Paszkiewicz, the 
Rural Secretary, grew an oak known under the name of Baublis, 
which was formerly, in pagan times, honoured as a sacred tree. 
In the interior of this decayed giant Paszkiewicz has founded a 
cabinet of Lithuanian antiquities. 

66 Not far from the parish church of Nowogrodek grew some 
ancient lindens, many of which were felled about the year 1812. 

67 [Jan Kochanowski (1530-84) was the greatest poet of Poland 
up to the time of Mickiewicz. Czarnolas was his country estate, 
on which he passed in retirement the closing years of his life. In 
a famous epigram he tells of the charms of his linden tree : 

" Seat thyself underneath my leaves, O guest, 

And rest. 
I promise thee that the sharp-beaming sun 

Here shall not run, 
But 'neath the trees spread out a heavy shade : 


Here always from the fields cool winds have played ; 
Here sparrows and the nightingales have made 

Charming lament. 

And all my fragrant flowers their sweets have spent 
Upon the bees ; my master's board is lent 

That honey's gold. 

And I with gentle whisperings can fold 
Sweet sleep upon thee. Yea, 'tis true I bear 
No apples ; yet my Lord speaks me as fair 

As the most fruitful trees 
That graced the Gardens of Hesperides." 
Translated by Miss H. H. Havermale and G. R. Noyes.] 

68 See Goszczynski's poem, The Castle of Kaniow. [This 
poem, by Seweryn Goszczynski (1803-76) was published in 
1828. The reference is probably to the following passage : " Does 
that prattling oak whisper in his ear sad tales of the disasters of 
this land, when beneath its sky the gloomy vulture of slaughter 
extended a dread shadow with bloody wings, and after it streamed 
clouds of Tatars $"'] 

69 [" Those used for the candles regularly lit by the Jews on 
Friday at sunset, to avoid the ' work ' of kindling fight or fire on 
the Sabbath/' M. A. Biggs.] 

70 Kolomyjkas are Ruthenian songs resembling the Polish 
mazurkas. [Ostrowski states that these are popular airs that are 
sung and danced at the same time. Naganowski adds that the 
first word is derived from the town of Kolomyja in Galicia. 
Mazurka is " merely the feminine form of Mazur," a Masovian.] 

71 [Dombrowski's march, " Poland has not yet perished," 
Compare pp. 325, 326, 334.] 

* See note 42. 

78 [The Jews in Poland, though not persecuted, formed a 
separate class, without share in the government of the country. 
They were separated from the Poles by religion, customs, and 
language. Yet" instances of intermarriage and assimilation were 
not uncommon. Compare p. 100,] 

74 The pokucie is the place of honour, where formerly the 
household gods were set, and where still the Russians hang their 
sacred pictures (ikons). Here a Lithuanian peasant seats any 
guest whom he desires to honour. 

75 [July mead (lipcowy miod) perhaps might better be called 
linden-flower mead. The Polish name of July, Upiec, is derived 
from lipa, a linden tree. See the epigram quoted in note 67.] 

76 [See note 2. Since Czenstochowa was in the Grand Duchy 
of Warsaw, Robak finds occasion to hint at the reunion of 
Lithuania and the Kingdom.] 

77 [The reference is to the Eastern (Orthodox) Church, the state 
church of Russia.] 

78 [Compare p. 319.] 

NOTES 343 

79 [An old jingle expressing the equality before the law of all 
members of the Polish gentry.] 

80 [Maciej Stryjkowski (1547-83) wrote a famous chronicle 
that is one of the sources for the early history of Lithuania. 

" Polish heraldry is comparatively simple beside that of 
other countries. The use of family names was unknown till the 
fifteenth century ; before that the different branches of one stock 
were only recognised by one common escutcheon. One might 
belong to the stock of the arrow, the two daggers, the horseshoe, 
the double or triple cross, etc. There were only 540 of these 
escutcheons for the whole of Poland. A great number of families 
were grouped together under each one of these signs ; we shall 
often find a man described as being of such and such a crest." 
M. A. Biggs. 

" It may be added.that a wealthy and powerful nobleman often 
rewarded his retainers and famuli by 'admitting them to his 
escutcheon,' i.e. obtaining for them a diploma of honour from 
the King, ratifying the knightly adoption. Hence it is common 
to hear of the greatest and most ancient Polish families having 
the same armorial bearings with some very obscure ones." Naga- 
nowski. Compare p. 319.] 

81 [See p. 334.] 

82 j The taratatka is a species of capote ; the czamara a long 
frock-coat, braided on the back and chest like a huzzar's uniform, 
and with tight sleeves. The sukmana is a sort of peasant's coat 
made of cloth, the wearing of which by Kosciuszko indicated 
his strong democratic tendencies, and sympathy with the lower 
classes." M. A. Biggs.] 

13 The beaks of large birds of prey become more and more 
curved with advancing age, and finally the upper part grows so 
crooked that it closes the bill, and the bird must die of hunger. 
This popular belief has been accepted by some ornithologists. 

84 It is a fact that there is no instance of the skeleton of a dead 
animal having been found. 

85 Birdies (ptaszynki) are guns of small calibre, used with a 
small bullet. A good marksman with such a fowling-piece can 
hit a bird on the wing. 

86 [" It may be interesting to know that one of the yet surviv- 
ing friends and schoolfellows of Mickiewicz, Ignatius Domejko, 
the present Rector of the University of Santiago (Chili), related 
during his stay in Warsaw last year (1884) that he challenged 
the young poet, then at Wilno, to find a proper name riming with 
Domejko. Mickiewicz improvised a verse riming Domejko with 
Dowejko. It is not, however, quite certain whether there was 
actually a family of that name." Naganowski.] 

87 Little leaves of gold lie at the bottom of bottles of Dantzic 
brandy. [The city, formerly under Polish rule, was annexed to 
Prussia at the time of the Second Partition, 1793.] 


88 [" The bigos was not of course prepared then and there on 
the spot* It is usually made in large quantities, put into barrels, 
and stored in cellars. The oftener it is heated the more savoury 
it is/' M. A. Biggs,] 

89 [See p. 333-] 

90 Queen Dido had a bull's hide cut into strips, and thus en- 
closed within the circuit of the hide a considerable territory, 
where she afterwards built Carthage. The Seneschal did not read 
the description of this event in the Aeneid, but in all probability 
in the scholiasts' commentaries. 

N.B. Some places in the fourth book are by the hand of Stefan 

91 Once in the Diet the deputy Philip, from the village of 
Konopie (hemp), obtaining the floor, wandered so far from the 
subject that he raised a general laugh in the chamber. Hence 
arose the proverb : " He has bobbed up like Philip from the 

92 [There is here an untranslatable pun in the original ; niemiec, 
the Polish word for German, is derived from niemy, dumb.} 

93 [In the original : " And the Word became " " These 

words of the Gospel of St. John are often used as an exclamation 
of astonishment." M. A. Biggs.] 

94 [" Of all spoils the most important were the spolia opima, a 
term applied to those only which the commander-in-chief of a 
Roman army stripped in a field of battle from the leader of the 
foe/' Smith's Dictionary of Antiquities. They were awarded but 
three or four times in the course of Roman history.] 

95 [In the original there is here an internal jingle between 
klucznik (warden) and puszczyk (screech owl).] 

96 [This festival furnished the subject and the title for Mickie- 
wicz's greatest poem, next to Pan Tadeusz. The poet's own 
explanation of it is in part as follows : " This is the name of a 
festival still celebrated among the common folk in many districts 
of Lithuania, Prussia, and Courland. The festival goes back to 
pagan times, and was formerly called the feast of the goat (koziet), 
the director of which was the kozlarz, at once priest and poet. 
At the present time, since the enlightened clergy and landowners 
have been making efforts to root out a custom accompanied by 
superstitious practices and often by culpable excesses, the folk 
celebrate the forefathers secretly in chapels or in empty houses 
not far from the graveyard. There they ordinarily spread a feast 
of food, drink, and fruits of various sorts and invoke the spirits 
of the dead. The folk hold the opinion that by this food and drink 
and by their songs they bring relief to souls in Purgatory."] 

97 [See note i.] 

98 [The original here has a delightful pun. Gerwazy misunder- 
stands his lord's high-flown word wassalow (vassals) as wonsalow 
(mustachioed champions). A long mustache was the dearest 

NOTES 345 

adornment of a Polish gentleman ; compare Gerwazy's descrip- 
tion of Jacek on pages 43 and 115, where wonsal is the title given 
him in the original.] 

99 [The last three names might be translated, Cuttem, Slashem t 

100 [The buzdygan or mace was the staff of office of certain 
subordinate officers in the Polish army, as the bulawa was that 
of the hetmans or generals. Each was a short rod with a knob at 
the end, but the knob on the bulawa was round, that on the 
buzdygan was pear-shaped, with longitudinal notches.] 

1 [See note 82.] 

02 In Lithuania the name okolica or zascianek is given to a 
settlement of gentry, to distinguish them from true villages, 
which are settlements of peasants. [" These zascianki were 
inhabited by the poorest of the lesser nobility, who were in fact 
peasants, but possessed of truly Castilian pride. The wearing 
of a sword being restricted to nobles, it was not unusual to see 
such zasciankowicze, or peasant nobles, following the plough bare- 
footed, wearing an old rusty sword hanging at their side by hempen 
cords/* Naganowski. In this volume hamlet has been arbitrarily 
chosen as a translation for the name of these villages of gentry.] 

03 [See page 334.] 

04 Kisiel is a Lithuanian dish, a sort of jelly made of oaten 
yeast, which is washed with water until all the mealy parts are 
separated from it : hence the proverb. [The literal translation 
of the Polish line is simply : " To the Horeszkos he is merely 
the tenth water on the kisiel."] 

05 [See pp. 334, 3350 
^ [See p. 332.] 

107 [See p. 335-1 

1)8 [The arms of Lithuania (called the " Pursuit ") are a horse- 
man in full career, with sword uplifted to strike. The Bear is the 
coat-of-arms of Zmudz, a portion of Lithuania, on the Baltic.] 

^ [Wilno (Vilna).] 

110 [A French statesman and historian, in the years 1810-12 
Napoleon's representative at Warsaw.] 

111 p< A convicted slanderer was compelled to crawl under the 
table or bench, and in that position to bark three times like a 
dog, and pronounce his recantation. Hence the Polish word 
odszczekac, to bark back, generally used to express recanting." 
- M. A. Biggs.] 

112 After various brawls this man was seized at Minsk, and shot, 
in accordance with a court decree. 

113 When the King was to assemble the general militia, he had a 
pole set up in each parish with a broom or bundle of twigs tied 
to the top. This was called sending out the twigs. Every grown 
man of the knightly order was obliged, under pain of loss of the 
privileges of gentle birth, to rally at once to the Wojewoda's 



standard. [The twigs symbolised the King's authority to inflict 
punishment. The reign of Jan III. Sobieski was 1674-96.] 

114 [ T^e district of Dobrzyn in Masovia, that exclusively 
Polish region the central point of which is Warsaw. The inhabi- 
tants of it are called Masovians ; hence this name is also applied 
to the men of Dobrzyn who emigrated from Masovia to Lithu- 
ania/' Lipiner.] 

116 [Bartlomiej is the Polish form of Bartholomew ; Maciej 
and Maciek (a diminutive) are variant forms of Matyasz (Mat- 

16 By-names are really sobriquets. 

117 [Krotikf Maciej's nickname, means both rabbit and little 
king or kinglet.] 

J 8 [See p. 333-] 
9 [See note 29.] 

120 [Maciej had naturally joined the Confederates of Bar, who 
opposed the King because of his subserviency to the Russians. 
" But when the King later declared himself for the patriotic 
party ... it is no wonder that our Maciek took sides with the 
crown, the power of which then needed strengthening. He sup- 
ported Tyzenhaus, because of the latter's beneficial activity in the 
most important direction, that of the economic welfare of the 
country. After the King's contemptible desertion to the camp 
of the Confederates of Targowica, all noble and patriotic men in 
Poland had of course to oppose him. Thus the King, and not 
Maciek, was the real Cock-on-the-Steeple, and our man of 
Dobrzyn was really always on the side of those who fought for 
4 the good of the country.' " Lipiner.] 

121 [The last Under-Treasurer of Lithuania. He took part in 
Jasinski's insurrection : compare p. 3 and note 7.] 

122 Alexander Count Pociej, on his return to Lithuania after 
the war, assisted those of his fellow-countrymen who were 
emigrating abroad, and sent considerable sums to the treasury 
of the Legions. 

123 [The opening line of a popular hymn by Franciszek 
Karpinski (1741-1825).] 

124 [This form of greeting is still used by the common people 
in Poland.] 

126 [Joseph Grabowski, a landed proprietor of the Grand Duchy 
of Posen, was a colonel of the General Staff during the Napoleonic 
wars, and later played an important part in the public life of the 
Grand Duchy. AtLukow, near Obiezierz, in 1831, he entertained 
Mickiewicz and his brother Franciszek.] 


See note 46.] 

See p. 334.] 

A proverbial phrase ; compare p. 283.] 

Also often called Baptist,] 

See note 20.] 

NOTES 347 

m [Sec p. 3330 

" The * contracts ' of Kiev and Minsk were famous fairs, 
held in those cities at stated times, for the conclusion of agree- 
ments of all sorts." Jaroszynski. As these are the only contracts 
of which Maciej has heard, the word, as used by the eloquent 
student of Rousseau, naturally puzzles him. (Adapted from 

133 [ i n j.^53 a Polish gentleman named Pszonka founded on 
his estate, Babin, near Lublin, a satiric society, called the Babin 
Republic. It scourged contemporary manners in a peculiar 
fashion, sending to every man who became noted for some crime 
or folly a diploma by virtue of which he was admitted to the 
4 Republic ' and had an office conferred on him. Thus, for 
example, a quack was appointed physician, a coward general, 
and a spendthrift staward." Lipiner.] 

134 [See p. 333.] 

35 [ 44 Klejnot, here translated jewel, also means escutcheon.} 
ise [ -phe orc j er o f the Piarists attained, after the expulsion of 
the Jesuits in 1773, great influence over the education of youth, 
and initiated, mainly by the efforts of Konarski, an improved 
system of education. While the Jesuits had laid the main stress 
upon Latin, the Piarists substituted French as the groundwork 
of education. This was an improvement upon the previous 
system, but it had the effect of inducing an aping of French man- 
ners and customs in literature and social life, till the reaction in 
favour of Polish nationality/' M. A. Biggs (slightly altered).] 

137 [Literally, " of Marymont flour." Marymont is a village 
near Warsaw, which is (or was) famous for its flour.] 

38 [The epithet in the original is Sak, a sack ; glupi jak sa/c, 
44 stupid as a sack," is a Polish proverb. As an equivalent, the 
archaic Buzzard seemed preferable to the grotesque modern 

139 [Lele and Polele, or Lelum and Polelum, were reputed to be 
twin brothers in the Polish pagan mythology. Slowacki intro- 
duces them into his drama Lilla Weneda,] 

140 [See p. 332.] 

41 [Berenice's hair. (Jaroszynski.)] 

2 The constellation known among astronomers as Ursa 

43 It was the custom to hang up in churches any fossil bones 
that might be discovered ; the people regard them as the bones 
of giants. 

4 The memorable comet of the year 1811. 

45 [" When the plague is about to strike upon Lithuania, the 
eye of the seer divines its coming ; for, if one may believe the 
bards, often in the desolate graveyards and meadows the Maid of 
Pestilence rises to sight, in a white garment, with a fiery crown 
on her temples ; her brow towers over the trees of Bialowieza, 


and in her hand she waves a bloody kerchief/' Mickiewicz, 
Konrad Wallenrod.] 

146 Father Poczobut, an ex- Jesuit, and a famous astronomer, 
published a work on the Zodiac of Denderah, and by his observa- 
tions aided Lalande in calculating the motions of the moon. See 
the biography of him by Jan Sniadecki. 

147 [Jan Sniadecki (1756-1830) was a man of real distinction 
both as an astronomer and as one of the intellectual leaders of 
Poland. During Mickiewicz's student days he was professor at 
the University of Wilno. The young poet disliked him, as a 
representative of the cold, rationalistic tradition of the eighteenth 

148 [At Jassy, in Roumania, peace was concluded in 1792 
between Russia and Turkey. The poet represents Branicki and 
his comrades as rushing to the protection of the Russian armies : 
compare p. 334.] 

149 [Fvlmcn Orientis Joannes III. rex Poloniarvm ter maximus. 
Calissii typis Collegij Societatis Jesv. 1684.] 

150 [Rubinkowski, Jan Kaz. Janina zwycieskich tryumfow 
Jana III. Poznan, S. J. 1739.] 

151 [Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski (1734-1823), a cousin of 
Stanislaw Poniatowski, and one of the leading men of his time 
in Poland.] 

152 [See p. 3 and note 6.] 

153 [See note 29.] 

154 [See p. 171 and note 121.] 

155 Properly Prince de Nassau-Siegen [1745-1808], a famous 
warrior and adventurer of those times. He was a Muscovite 
admiral and defeated the Turks in the bay [of the Dnieper, near 
Ochakov] ; later he was himself utterly defeated by the Swedes. 
He spent some time in Poland, where he was granted the rights 
of a citizen. The combat of the Prince de Nassau with the tiger 
[in Africa I] was noised abroad at the time through all the news- 
papers of Europe. 

is6 [Thaddeus, though he may catch a glimpse of this scene 
through the keyhole, apparently does not hear the conversation, 
if one may judge by his later ignorance : compare p. 261.] 

357 [In the original Switezianka, a nymph that apparently 
Mickiewicz himself invented as an inhabitant of the Switez, a 
small lake near his home. One of his ballads is entitled Swite- 
zianka, another Switez.] 

158 [The Polish " short mile " was of 15,000 feet, or somewhat 
less than three English miles ; the " long mile " was of 22,500 

159 [A sort of Polish Puck. He figures prominently in Slowacki's 
tragedy Balladyna.] 

160 [See note 21. The name of Plut's birthplace might be trans- 
lated Skinnem.] 

NOTES 349 

161 The Yellow Book, so called from its binding, is the bar- 
barous book of Russian martial law. Frequently in time of peace 
the government proclaims whole provinces as being in a state of 
war, and on the authority of the Yellow Book confers on the 
military commander complete power over the estates and lives 
of the citizens* It is a well-known fact that from the year 1812 to 
the revolution [of 1831] all Lithuania was subject to the Yellow 
Book, of which the executor was the Grand Duke the Tsarevich 

162 [Joseph Baka (1707-80), a Jesuit, wrote Reflections on 
Inevitable Death, Common to All. His short doggerel rimes, 
which breathe a jovial gaiety, were long extremely popular. In 
recent times suspicion has been cast on Baka's authorship of the 
work. (Adapted from Jaroszynski.)] 

163 A Lithuanian chib is made in the following way. A young 
oak is selected and is slashed from the bottom upwards with an 
axe, so that bark and bast are cut through and the wood slightly 
wounded. Into these notches are thrust sharp flints, which in time 
grow into the tree and form hard knobs. Clubs in pagan times 
formed the chief weapon of the Lithuanian infantry ; they are 

still occasionally used, and are called nasieki, gnarled clubs. 

164 After Jasinski's insurrection [compare p. 3 and note 7], 
when the Lithuanian armies were retiring towards Warsaw, the 

Muscovites had come up to the deserted city of Wilno. General 
Deyov at the head of his staff was entering through the Ostra 
Gate. The streets were empty ; the townsfolk had shut themselves 
in their houses. One townsman, seeing a cannon loaded with 
grapeshot, abandoned in an alley, aimed it at the gate and fired. 
This one shot saved Wilno for the time being ; General Deyov and 
several officers perished ; the rest, fearing an ambuscade, retired 
from the city. I do not know with certainty the name of that 

165 Even later still forays (zajazdy) occurred, which, though 
not so famous, were still bloody and much talked of. About the 
year 1817 a man named Ufzlowski] in the wojewodeship of Nowo- 
grodek defeated in a foray the whole garrison of Nowogrodek 
and took its leaders captive. 

166 [A town not far from Odessa, captured from the Turks in 
1788 by Potemkin.] 

67 [Izmail was a fortress in Bessarabia, captured from the Turks 
by Suvorov in 1790, after a peculiarly bloody siege. (Byron chose 
this episode for treatment in Don Juan, cantos vii and viii.) 
Mickiewicz makes Rykov give the name as Izmailov ; Rykov is 
a bluff soldier, not a stickler for geographical nomenclature.] 

168 [In Italy, near Modena, memorable for the victory of the 
Russians and Austrians over the French in 1799.] 

^ Evidently Preussisch-Eylau. [In East Prussia : see p. 334.] 
170 [Alexander Rimski-Korsakov (1753-1840), a Russian 


general sent in 1799 to Switzerland in aid of Suvorov ; he was 
beaten on September 25, before uniting with Suvorov, and was 
in consequence for a time dismissed from the service.] 

171 [A village not far from Cracow, where on April 4, 1794, 
Kosciuszko with an army of 6000, among them 2000 peasants, 
armed with scythes, defeated a body of 7000 Russians.] 

72 [See p. 334^ 

7J [Jan Tenczynski, an ambassador from Poland to Sweden, 
gained the love of a Swedish princess. On his journey to espouse 
her he was captured by the Danes, in 1562, and he died in con- 
finement in Copenhagen in the next year. His memory has been 
honoured in verse by Kochanowski and in prose by Niemcewicz.] 

174 [Compare p. 305.] 

175 [See note 38.] 

176 Apparently the Pantler was slain about the year 1791, at 
the time of the first war. [In the chronology of this poem there is 
serious confusion. From Jacek's narrative (pp. 269-272) it is 
plain that Thaddeus was born shortly before the death of the 
Pantler. At the time of the action of the poem he is about twenty 
years old (p. 21), and he was born at the time of Kosciuszko's 
war against the Russians (p. 6), which would be naturally inter- 
preted as 1794, the date of the war in which Kosciuszko was the 
dictator. All this would be consistent with the original plan of 
Mickiewicz, to have the action take place in 1814 (see Introduc- 
tion, p. xiv) ; it conflicts with the chronology of the completed 
poem, the action of which is placed in the years 1811-12. Appar- 
ently Mickiewicz inserted the note above in a vain attempt to 
restore consistency. The " first war " could be none other than 
that following the Constitution of May 3, 1791, in which Prince 
Joseph Poniatowski and Kosciuszko were leaders. But this war 
did not begin until after the proclamation of the Confederacy 
of Targowica, which was on May 14, 1792.] 

177 [A former adjutant of Kosciuszko; he perished in the war of 

178 A certain Russian historian describes in similar fashion the 
omens and the premonitions of the Muscovite people before the 
war of 1812. 

179 Run [the Polish word here used] is the winter corn when it 
comes up green. 

iso Wy rCL j [the Polish word here used] in the popular dialect 
means properly the autumn season, when the migratory birds 
fly away ; to fly to wyraj means to fly to warm countries. Hence 
figuratively the folk applies the word wyraj to warm countries 
and especially to some fabulous, happy countries, lying beyond 
the seas. 

181 [Prince Joseph Poniatowski (compare pp. 334-335) and 
Jerome Bonaparte (1784-1 860), the youngest brother of Napoleon.] 

182 [See pp. 31 and 334, and note 33.] 

NOTES 351 

183 [See pp. 31 and 334, and note 34.] 

184 [Kazimierz Malachowski (1765-1845) ; he lived to share 
in the insurrection of 1831. Compare note 35.] 

185 [Romuald Giedrojc (1750-1824) ; in 1812 he organised 
the army in Lithuania.] 

186 [Michal Grabowski (1773-1812), killed at the siege of 

187 A book now very rare, published more than a hundred 
years ago by Stanislaw Czerniecki. 

188 That embassy to Rome has been often described and painted. 
See the preface to The Perfect Cook : " This embassy, being a 
great source of amazement to every western state, redounded to 
the wisdom of the incomparable gentleman [Ossolinski] as well 
as to the splendour of his house and the magnificence of his table 
so that one of the Roman princes said : ' To-day Rome is happy 
in having such an ambassador/ " N.B. Czerniecki himself 
was Ossolinski's head cook. [The information given by Mickie- 
wicz does not quite agree with that furnished by Estreicher, 
Bibliografia Polska (Cracow, 1896), xiv. 566, 567. Czerniecki 
was apparently the head cook of Lubomirski, Wojewoda of Cracow, 
etc., not of Ossolinski.] 

189 [Karol Radziwill (1734-90), called My-dear-friend from a 
phrase that he constantly repeated, the richest magnate of his 
time in Poland and one immensely popular among the gentry, 
led a gay and adventurous life. In 1785 he entertained King 
Stanislaw at Nieswiez ; this reception cost him millions.] 

90 [Compare p. 177 and note 128.] 

[The festival of the Annunciation, March 25.] 

192 In Lithuania, on the entrance of the French and Polish 
armies, confederacies were formed in each wojewodeship and 
deputies to the Diet were elected. 

193 It is a well-known fact that at Hohenlinden the Polish corps 
led by General Kniaziewicz decided the victory. [At Hohenlinden 
in Bavaria the French under Moreau defeated the Austrians, 
December 3, 1800 ; compare p. 334.] 

94 [See p. 335.] 

196 [A brand of deep disgrace. The Chamberlain is of course 
quoting from the Latin text of the law.] 

196 [Militem (soldier) here signifies a full-fledged gentleman, 
of ancient lineage. Skartabell (a word of uncertain etymology) 
was a term applied to a newly created noble, who was not yet 
entitled to all the privileges of his order.] 

197 [The Constitution of May 3, 1791 (see p. 333), conferred 
many political rights on the inhabitants of the Polish cities and 
took the peasants " under the protection of the law/' though it 
did not set them free.] 

198 [See p. 332.] 

199 [See note 28.] 


200 j- TI^ fi nest pai ace i n Warsaw was beyond dispute that of 
General Pac, who died in exile at Smyrna/' Ostrowski. The 
proprietor of the palace seems to have been present at Soplicowo 
at this very time : see p. 301*] 

201 [This was a Polish escutcheon characterised by a golden 
crescent and a six-pointed golden star. It was borne by the 
Soplicas : see p. 319.] 

202 [A village in eastern Galicia, the scene of a battle in 1667 
between the Turks and the Poles under Sobieski.] 

203 [See p. 295 and note 200.] 

204 Radziwill the Orphan travelled very widely, and published 
an account of his journey to the Holy Land. [Mikolaj Krzysztof 
Radziwill was converted from Calvinism to Catholicism. In 
1582-84 he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Egypt, on 
which he wrote a book.] 

05 [See p. 333 : ] 

206 [Jaroszynski explains kontuz as a sort of sausage, arkas as 
a cold dish of milk, cream, and yolks of eggs, and blemas (the 
same word as blancmange) as almond jelly.] 

207 In the sixteenth, and at the beginning of the seventeenth 
century, at the time when the arts flourished, even banquets 
were directed by artists, and were full of symbols and of theatrical 
scenes. At a famous banquet given in Rome for Leo X. there was 
a centrepiece that represented the four seasons of the year in turn, 
and that evidently served as a model for Radziwill's. Table 
customs altered in Europe about the middle of the eighteenth 
century, but remained unchanged longest in Poland. 

208 p me ty [Pinetti $*] was a conjurer famous throughout Poland, 
but when he visited the country I do not know. 

209 [Henryk Dembinski (1791-1864) took part in the Napoleonic 
wars, the insurrection of 1831, and the Hungarian insurrection 
of 1849.] 

210 [Joseph Dwernicki (1778-1857), a member of the Legions, 
who in 1804 fitted out a squadron at his own cost. In 1826 he 
was made a general, and distinguished himself in the insurrection 
of 1831.] 

211 [Samuel Rozycki entered the army in 1806 ; he took part 
in the insurrection of 1831.] 

212 [The translator cannot find that counterpoint is a term of 
fencing, but does not know how else to render kontrpunkt.] 

213 [The Pulawski family were among the organisers and most 
prominent leaders of the Confederacy of Bar. Joseph Pulawski 
was the first commander-in-chief of its armed forces. His son 
Kazimierz won fame as a leader after his father's death. Later, 
in 1777, he came to America, and distinguished himself by his 
services to the cause of the revolutionists. He was killed in 1779 
at the attack on Savannah.] 

214 [Michal Dzierzanowski, a Confederate of Bar and an adven- 

NOTES 353 

turer famous in the eighteenth century ; he took part in almost 
all the wars of his time. He died in 1808. The Cossack Sawa was 
one of the most active leaders in the Confederacy of Bar.] 

215 The mournful song of Pani Cybulski, whom her husband 
gambled away at cards to the Muscovites, is well known in 

216 [That is, is fickle. The translator is here indebted to Miss 
Biggs's version.] 

217 [Charles Fra^ois Dumouriez (1739-1823) was an agent 
of the French government sent to support the Confederacy of 
Bar. He later became prominent in the affairs of his own country.] 

218 [The Piasts were the first royal dynasty of Poland. In later 
times the name was used to denote any candidate for the Polish 
throne who was of native birth.] 

219 [The italicised words are of foreign origin in the original 
text. For old Maciek everything not Polish is Muscovite or 
German. Gerwazy has the same way of thinking : compare p. 

[Doubtless Maciek had heard of the excommunication of 
Napoleon by Pius VII. in 1809.] 

221 The fashion of adopting the French garb raged in the pro- 
vinces from 1800 to 1812. The majority of the young men changed 
their style of dress before marriage at the desire of their future 
wives. [On the kontusz see note 13.] 

222 The story of the quarrel of Rejtan with the Prince de Nassau, 
which the Seneschal never concluded, is well known in popular 
tradition. We add here its conclusion, in order to gratify the 
curious reader. Rejtan, angered by the boasting of the Prince 
de Nassau, took his stand beside him at the narrow passage that 
the beast must take ; just at that moment a huge boar, infuriated 
by the shots and the baiting, rushed to the passage. Rejtan 
snatched the gun from the Prince's hands, cast his own on the 
ground, and, taking a pike and offering another to the German, 
said : " Now we will see who will do the better work with the 
spear/' The boar was just about to attack them, when the 
Seneschal Hreczecha, who was standing at some distance away, 
brought down the beast by an excellent shot. The gentlemen 
were at first angry, but later were reconciled and generously 
rewarded Hreczecha. 

223 [Compare p. 100.] 

14 The Russian government recognises no freemen except 
the gentry (szlachta). Peasants freed by landowners are immedi- 
ately entered in the rolls of the Emperor's private estates, and 
must pay increased taxes in place of the dues to their lords. It 
is a well-known fact that in the year 1818 the citizens of the pro- 
vince of Wilno adopted in the local diet a project for freeing all 
the peasants, and appointed a delegation to the Emperor with that 
aim in view ; but the Russian government ordained that the pro- 


ject should be quashed and no further mention made of it. There 
is no means of setting a man free under the Russian government 
except to take him into one's family. Accordingly many have had 
the privileges of the gentry conferred on them in this way as an 
act of grace or for money. 

225 [Compare p. 296, and note 201.] 

226 Before the inauguration of a better taste by Mickiewicz 
and other great writers, the so-called French or Classical school 
of literature in Poland produced a quantity of panegyrics or 
complimentary verses in honour of great personages, with 
stale classical images, and strained, far-fetched metaphors, desti- 
tute of real poetry. Our author has seized this happy opportunity 
of satirising the faults of classicism/' M. A. Biggs.] 

227 [" Janissaries' music, a type of extraordinarily noisy Turkish 
martial music, was fashionable in eastern Europe in the eighteenth 
century, and was introduced into Poland." Taroszynski.] 

228 [See p. 3330 
2* [See p. 334.] 

230 [" Readers who have already observed into what close 
connection Mickiewics loves to bring the phenomena of nature 
and the affairs of men, will not find it difficult, nor will they 
regard it as a forced interpretation, to understand the clouds, 
w&'ch at the close of the poem ... he paints with such dispro- 
portionate breadth and with such apparent minuteness, as some- 
thing quite different from mere external reality. They will have 
no difficulty in seeing in that western cloud, which was adorned 
with gold and pearl, but in the centre was blood-red, Napoleon, 
the great warrior of the west ; or, if they prefer, the hopes of 
Poland that were linked to him. We are in the year 1812 : both 
the aureole of that name, and the hopes and rejoicing that it 
aroused, we may recognise in the gleaming, but fleeting picture, 
which ' slowly turned yellow, then pale and grey/ and behind 
which the sun fell asleep with a sigh. Thus in this passage, as 
well as earlier, in the words of Maciek (page 314), the poet gives 
us warning of the great tragedy which was soon to overwhelm 
not only Lithuania and Poland but the world." Lipiner.] 

231 [This concluding couplet imitates the conventional ending 
of a Polish fairy tale.] 


University of Toronto 








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